Highland District Boundaries

By Sandra Emerson, Redlands Daily Facts
Posted: 10/12/14, 7:29 PM PDT |

Cities across the state have been voluntarily complying with the California Voting Rights Act of 2001—while others, such as the city of Highland, are forced to consider changing their election system to avoid potentially costly litigation.

Highland joins a growing list of government agencies that have been sued or threatened with lawsuits under the Act, which allows members of ethnic, racial and language groups in California to more easily challenge a government agency on the basis that their votes are diluted in at-large elections.

Highland voters in November will consider Measure T, which would establish a by-district election system.

If approved, the measure would:

—Divide the city into five voting districts each with 10,528 to 10,725 residents

—Begin during the 2016 election, with the election of council members for District 2 and 4. Districts 1, 3 and 5 would be up for election in 2018.

—Require the candidate running to represent a district to live within that district

—Allow residents living within a district to only vote for a candidate seeking to represent their district

—Create two districts with a majority of Hispanic voters, with a third being close to majority

Source: Measure T and documents from the city of Highland

“There are voters who feel they’re not achieving equal and fair representation under the at-large system,” said Renee Van Vechten, associate professor of government at the University of Redlands. “The basic idea is if you have an at-large system, then the minority will never reach the majority.”

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