On Tuesday, September 21, 2021, the Pleasanton City Council took the first step toward transitioning to district-based elections which will involve a robust community-engagement initiative to seek feedback on this impactful community change.
Pleasanton has always had an at-large election system, where voters of the entire city elect all members of the City Council. District elections will divide the city into geographic sections. Voters within said section (district) will vote only for candidates residing within the same district. Voters will not vote for candidates outside of their own district, however, the office of mayor remains elected at-large even under a district-based election system.
In late August, the City of Pleasanton received a certified letter from attorney Kevin Shenkman asserting that the City’s at-large electoral system violates the California Voting Rights Act of 2001 and prompts the City’s voluntary conversion to district-based elections for Councilmembers.
During its September 21 public meeting, the Council adopted a resolution of intent to transition to by-district voting through a transparent and inclusive community engagement process. After entering into an agreement to extend the transition period by an additional 90 days, the City will have until March 19, 2022, to formally adopt the change to district-based elections.
A "community of interest" is a neighborhood or community that would benefit from being in the same district because of shared interest, views, or characteristics. Possible community features include:
Professional demographers are hired by cities to create proposed district boundaries. These demographers ensure that the proposed maps comply with FVRA and CVRA requirements as well as consider the feedback received from the community during the Public Hearing process.
The process to establish districts will begin in early 2022 and will incorporate community informational and outreach meetings, online tools to evaluate draft district map options, and public comment to the City Council as to how the districts should be established.