What are the Federal and California Voting Rights Acts?

The Federal Voting Rights Act (FVRA) was adopted in 1965 and is intended to protect the rights of all citizens to participate in the voting process. The CVRA was passed in the California State Legislature in 2001, based on the Legislature’s belief that minorities and other members of protected classes were being denied the opportunity to have representation of their choosing at the local level because of a number of issues associated with at-large elections. Upon a finding of a violation of the CVRA, the act requires that “the court shall implement appropriate remedies, including the imposition of district-based elections that are tailored to remedy the violation.” As such, the default remedy and the clearly identified remedy by the Legislature is district-based elections.

Read more about the FVRA, the CVRA and CVRA Safe Harbor information.

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1. Why is the City considering changing the election process?
2. What are the Federal and California Voting Rights Acts?
3. Have other cities encountered this? What did they do?
4. Why haven’t cities prevailed in challenging these allegations?
5. What are by-district elections?
6. What are the pros and cons of by-district elections?
7. What is the City’s current City Council election process?
8. What criteria are used to create City Council electoral districts?
9. What are communities of interest?
10. What is the timeline for the change?
11. If districts are created, who decides the district boundaries?
12. How can I participate?