Under a district-based election system, the City would be divided into four equally-populated districts. A candidate for a seat on the City Council must reside within that seat’s district, and is elected only by voters residing within that same district. Under this system, the four City Council Members each represent one district, while the Mayor continues to represent the City as a whole, and be elected citywide.
Currently, the City Council consists of a Mayor and four Council Members who are elected at-large. This means any eligible voter who lives in the City can run for office, and every voter may vote for the Mayor and all four of the City Council Member seats, regardless of where they live in the City. The Council Members each serve four-year terms of office, while the Mayor serves for two years.
Districting determines which neighborhoods and communities are grouped together into a district for purposes of electing a Council Member. The City Council will seek input in selecting the first district-based election map. You have an opportunity to share with the City Council how you think district boundaries should be drawn to best represent your community either during the public hearings or by submitting comments to CityHall@CityofSolvang.com.
- Federal Laws
- Equal Population (based on total population of residents as determined by the most recent Federal decennial Census and adjusted by the State to reassign incarcerated persons to the last known place of residence)
- Federal Voting Rights Act
- No Racial Gerrymandering
- California Criteria for Cities (to the extent practicable and in the following order of priority)
- Geographically contiguous (areas that meet only at the points of adjoining corners are not contiguous. Areas that are separated by water and not connected by a bridge, tunnel, or ferry service are not contiguous.
- Undivided neighborhoods and “communities of interest” (Socio-economic geographic areas that should be kept together for purposes of its effective and fair representation)
- Easily identifiable boundaries
- Compact (Do not bypass one group of people to get to a more distant group of people)
- Prohibited: “Shall not favor or discriminate against a political party.”
- Other Traditional Districting Principles
- Respect voters’ choices / continuity in office
- Future population growth
A community of interest is a “contiguous population that shares common social and economic interests that should be included within a single district for purposes of its effective and fair representation.”
Below are useful excerpts from the Local Government Redistricting Toolkit by Asian Americans Advancing Justice – Asian Law Caucus (2020).
Communities of interest are the overlapping sets of neighborhoods, networks, and groups that share interests, views, cultures, histories, languages, and values and whose boundaries can be identified on a map.
The following elements help define communities of interest:
- shared interests in schools, housing, community safety, transit, health conditions, land use, environmental conditions, and/or other issues;
- common social and civic networks, including churches, mosques, temples, homeowner associations, and community centers, and shared use of community spaces, like parks and shopping centers;
- racial and ethnic compositions, cultural identities, and households that predominantly speak a language other than English;
- similar socio-economic status, including but not limited to income, home-ownership, and education levels;
- shared political boundary lines from other jurisdictions, such as school districts, community college districts, and water districts.
Share your specific thoughts, or attend an upcoming public hearing to get involved!
- Submit written testimony about your community, the process, or a specific map to CityHall@CityofSolvang.com.
- Click here to see the calendar of public hearings at which you can speak about the process or a specific map.
- Check out the City’s Interactive Review Map to get an idea of what neighborhoods and communities of interest might exist within the City.
At the hearings, we want you to:
- Share your story
- Define your neighborhood or community of interest
- Explain why districting is relevant to your community
- Describe what you think the districts should look like
- Talk to your neighbors and local organizations
- Share your opinions of the draft maps once they are available
Common acronyms demographic categories:
- NH: Non-Hispanic
- VAP: Voting age population
- CVAP: Citizen Voting Age Population
- CVRA: California Voting Rights Act
- FAIR MAPS Act: Fair And Inclusive Redistricting for Municipalities and Political Subdivisions
- NDC: National Demographics Corporation (the firm hired to produce the maps and provide demographic data)
Online publications and guides to districting/redistricting: