Why is the City considering changing the election process?

On August 21, 2017, the City received a letter from Attorney Kevin Shenkman demanding that the City Council elections transition from the current “at-large” method to by-district” in order to conform to the California Voting Rights Act (CVRA). Mr. Shenkman alleges that the City of Menlo Park is in violation of the California Voting Rights Act of 2001 and that “racially polarized voting” occurs in the city.

The City Council is taking advantage of AB 350, California Elections Code 10010, which provides for a short window on opportunity to discuss, invite and receive public input and ultimately decide if the City should adopt a district based elections process.

The key provisions of AB 350 affords the City an additional 90 days to comply before a lawsuit can be filed as it is safe harbored from litigation throughout the public hearing and ordinance process.

Show All Answers

1. What qualifications are needed to run for a district council seat?
2. After a councilmember is elected to a district seat, may the councilmember move out of the district?
3. If the City transitions to an elected mayor, may existing councilmembers run for mayor?
4. If Councilmembers Mueller and Carlton choose to run for mayor and do not win, do they retain their existing City Council seats?
5. If a seated councilmember whose seat is not up until 2020 runs for mayor in 2018 and wins, how is the vacant City Council seat filled?
6. May candidates simultaneously run for a district council and mayoral seat?
7. Why is the City considering changing the election process?
8. What are the Federal and California Voting Rights Acts?
9. Have other cities encountered this? What did they do?
10. Why haven’t cities prevailed in challenging these allegations?
11. What are by-district elections?
12. What are the pros and cons of by-district elections?
13. What is the City’s current City Council election process?
14. What criteria are used to create City Council electoral districts?
15. What are communities of interest?
16. How can I participate?