By Beau Yarbrough, The Sun
Posted: 12/11/13, 7:00 PM PST |

San Bernardino >> Minority voters may have an easier time getting their voices heard in the San Bernardino Community College District, after a vote expected Thursday.

At the meeting, the SBCCD Board of Trustees is scheduled to choose between three plans that will scrap the district’s at-large voting system in favor of carving the district into seven different regions, each of which will elect their own trustee. (Student representatives from Crafton Hills and San Bernardino Valley colleges also sit on the board.)

“(The vote has) been in the offing for quite a while now,” district spokeswoman Alisa Sparkia Moore said Wednesday. “Other cities and other governmental bodies have been challenged or criticized for not doing so. A number of community college districts in the state area already (elect board members by individual) areas, rather than at large, so it’s just an idea whose time has come.”

At-large voting districts have been under attack in California since the 2002 passage of the California Voting Rights Act. The law makes it easier for the state’s minority groups to prove their votes are being diluted by at-large elections, including all the voters in the municipality or district’s boundaries. Cities and agencies across California have been pressured to move to voting by geographic districts, including Whittier, which is facing a lawsuit over the issue. (Whittier, which is 66 percent Latino according to the 2010 Census, has only elected one Latino to its City Council in its 115-year history.)

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