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FAQ Topic: District Election FAQ's

If the City moves to districts for the 2020 election will the City then have to redraw the districts in 2021 after the 2020 census data?

Yes.The City’s next election is 2020, and the lines would have to be reconsidered upon the release of the Census the following year. See Elec. Code § 21620 which states “After the initial establishment of the districts, the districts shall continue to be as nearly equal in population as may be according to the latest federal decennial census … Continued

How will the City involve the entire community in the public process and keep them involved? How will the City ensure people affected, i.e. people of color, have opportunity to speak and be involved beyond just public comment?

The City held a study session on November 20 and has held public hearings on December 4, December 18 and January 16 to receive public input.  Now that the City Council has decided to transition to district-based elections, the City Council will hold multiple meetings over a period of not more than 90 days in … Continued

Is there data that can evaluate the pluses and minuses of a less homogenous council? For example, data that would show if you have regional or district elections do you have a much more contentious council advocating for its own district rather than the entire city?

City staff  is not aware of any quantitative data that addresses this, though there is qualitative scholarship and case law recognizing the possibility that districts could lead to more concern for one’s district at the expense of a “big-picture” view.  However, the extent to which this is true varies by jurisdiction.

Can the City delay creating district voting until the census and can that decision be negotiated? What would the cost be to delay? Has it been done in other jurisdictions? How would the Council delay the implementation of districts and any related cost? What is the optics of waiting until the 2020 census to create districts? What is the community opinion? And are there examples of other communities that have done similar?

The City’s outside counsel advises that the City has the option to delay implementing district-based elections until after the 2020 Census, and a number of jurisdictions took this approach preceding the last Census (in 2010).  However, litigation under the CVRA has become substantially more active since that time, and this approach  would not necessarily avoid … Continued

Does the City have a choice between 4 or 5 districts? What input can community give regarding 5 districts? What input can we make to ensure City investigates 5 districts thoroughly, as opposed to 4 districts?

Article IV, Section 2 of the Charter provides that “all elections to fill public offices and elections on measures shall be made, held and conducted in the manner provided by law.”  Thus, Staff has concluded that under this provision, a vote of the people is not required to change to district-based elections for the four … Continued

What sets San Rafael apart from the rest of the County with regard to an at large mayor as opposed to a rotating mayor? What benefit to the City transition to 5 districts and rotating mayor vs current to 4 districts and at large mayor?

The Mayor’s office in San Rafael is elected pursuant to Article VI, Section 2 of the City’s Charter, which was approved by the voters in 1912.  Other cities in Marin County governed by general state law, rather than by a charter city; however, general law cities may also put a measure before their voters to … Continued

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