Why is the city moving to district-based elections?

In a letter received January 13, 2022, Mr. Kevin Shenkman, counsel representing the Southwest Voter Registration Education Project (SVREP), alleged that the City’s at-large elections system violates the CVRA because it results in racially polarized voting that dilutes the impact of Latino voters. The letter demands that Diamond Bar voluntarily change its at-large system for electing City Council members to a district-based system to avoid litigation.

To succeed in the courts, a plaintiff must only show that racially polarized voting has occurred. To date, there is no established CVRA case law in which a public agency defendant has successfully prevailed on the merits. Thus, the majority of cities facing 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 into the millions of dollars if the City’s legal defense is unsuccessful.

On February 17, 2022, the Diamond Bar City Council adopted a resolution stating its intent to voluntarily transition to district-based elections.

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1. What is the California Voting Rights Act (CVRA)?
2. What is racially polarized voting?
3. What are district-based elections?
4. Will the change to a district-based election system affect my vote?
5. Why is the city moving to district-based elections?
6. What is the timeline to move to district-based elections?
7. Why is this happening so fast? Can we slow down the process?