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City Council Districting Background
To avoid litigation and the high cost of defending against a California Voting Rights Act (CVRA) lawsuit, the City Council declared its intent to transition from at-large to by-district elections by adopting a resolution during a special City Council meeting held February 17, 2022. View a recording of the meeting.
On January 13, 2022, the City received a letter from Mr. Kevin Shenkman, counsel representing the Southwest Voter Registration Education Project (SVREP), alleging that the City's at-large election systems violates the CVRA because it results in racially polarized voting that dilutes the impact of Latino voters. The letter demands that Diamond Bar voluntarily changes its at-large system for electing City Council members to a district-based system to avoid litigation.
A violation of the CVRA is established if it is shown that racially polarized voting occurred in City Council elections or in the election of candidates for other offices by the voters. Racially polarized voting occurs when there is a difference in the choice of candidates that are preferred by voters in a protected class versus the choice of candidates preferred by voters in the rest of the electorate.
The City commissioned an outside analysis to determine whether polarized voting occurs in Diamond Bar. The results of the Racially Polarized Voting Analysis in Diamond Bar concluded that evidence of polarized voting does exist and suggests that the "ability for Asians and Latinos to elect their favored candidates may be impaired".
Numerous Cities that have faced the threat of CVRA litigation have voluntarily transitioned to district-based elections citing the cost of legal defense and potential liability for significant attorney's fees and settlement costs that have reached the millions of dollars. More details are available on the February 17, 2022 Special City Council meeting staff report.
To prevent a CVRA lawsuit from being filed, the City Council must adopt a Resolution of Intent to transition to district-based elections within 45 days of receiving a letter from a potential plaintiff. The City then has 90 days to complete legal proceedings to make the transition. These proceedings including holding a minimum of five public hearings to consider district boundaries, draft district maps, and establish the sequence of elections.
In addition to the preferences expressed by residents of the districts, the maps must include consideration of natural geographic boundaries, communities of interest, and the “one person, one vote” standard, which requires all districts to be as nearly equal in population as possible. Federal case law prohibits districts from being drawn with race as a predominate factor.
Community involvement is essential throughout the districting process. Information on how to get involved will be posted on this website, mailed to Diamond Bar households, and shared on the City's social accounts. See District Meetings and Workshops webpage for participation details.
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