In order to comply with the California Voting Rights Act of 2001, many cities, school districts, water districts, and other special districts are switching from at-large elections to by-division elections.
Diablo Water District has a goal of electing two of the Board of Director seats by-division in 2020, and the remaining three Board of Director seats by-division in 2022.
Per the CVRA, potential divisions are being drawn by the District's demographer to help give voice to citizens of protected classes. We encourage your participation by reviewing the maps and providing feedback to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Frequently Asked Questions
What's the difference between at-large and by-division elections?
Currently, the District has an at-large election system, where voters of the entire District are able to vote for all members of the Board. Switching to by-division elections will require the District to create five geographic voting areas within the District, each assigned to one seat on the Board. Voters within each voting area will vote only for candidates for the seat on the Board assigned to their voting area. Regardless of voting area, all Directors will continue to represent the entire District.
Why is the District transitioning to by-division elections?
Like more than 300 municipalities and public agencies across the state, the District is making this change in large part due to the California Voting Rights Act or CVRA. Rather than wait for a potential lawsuit or demand letter – which could cost the District a minimum of $30,000 – the District has decided to act proactively to transition to by-division elections.
What is the California Voting Rights Act?
The California Voting Rights Act or CVRA allows plaintiffs to sue a local agency where at- large elections may prevent minorities and protected classes from electing candidates of their choice to local office and to recover their attorneys’ fees if they are successful. Moreover, a potential plaintiff can recover up to $30,000 in attorneys’ fees for preparing a demand letter even if an agency immediately makes the change to by-division elections. To date, no local agency has successfully defended itself against a CVRA challenge.
Who creates the voting area boundaries?
The Board will work with a professional demographer to create proposed voting area boundaries which will be refined and revised following the public’s input. Ultimately, the Board will adopt a proposed map which will be reviewed and approved by the Contra Costa County Registrar of Voters.
What is the timeline for the drawing the voting areas?
The Directors intend to follow the following schedule to develop the voting areas boundary map:
- March 27: First Pre-Map Public Hearing for community input
- April 24: Second Pre-Map Public Hearing for community input
- June 26: First Public Hearing on draft maps
- July 24: Second Public Hearing on draft maps
- August 28: Third Public Hearing on draft maps
- September 25: Fourth Public Hearing on draft maps and adoption of boundary map
All public hearings will take place during regularly scheduled Board meetings. Please note that the above timeline is tentative and subject to change.
Would Directors represent the entire District, or their respective voting areas?
All Directors would continue to represent the entire District, regardless of voting area.
When will the new voting areas take effect?
Once the transition is approved, elections will be transitioned to by-division elections beginning with the 2020 election. The current Directors will continue in office until the expiration of their terms in 2020 or 2022.
How will the change to by-division elections affect me?
Beginning in 2020, voters will only be able to vote for one Director who resides in the voting area in which they live.
Where can I learn more?
Please feel free to contact the General Manager, Daniel Muelrath, with any comments or questions by calling (925) 625-3798 or by email at email@example.com.