Community Workshop on Transitioning to District Elections
When: January 13, 10AM - 12Noon
Where: Al Boro Community Center at Pickleweed
San Rafael will be transitioning to District Elections in the coming year. They are expected to make it official at their city council meeting on January 16.
Like most of the cities making the change, San Rafael recently received a letter from Malibu attorney Kevin Shenkman of the Southwest Voter Registration Education Project, demanding the city switch to district elections to comply with the state’s Voting Rights Act.
The Voting Rights Act was designed to increase opportunities for Latinos and other minorities to elect representatives of their choice. The law specifies a number of factors for creating districts including equal populations, contiguous borders and common interests. Race should be a factor but cannot be the predominant criterion, the law states.
Before the law was passed there were only 27 cities in California with district elections, and now there are more than 60. In 2016, 21 cities in the state held district elections for the first time.
The Canal Welcome Center, Canal Alliance, Alcohol Justice, Youth for Justice, and United Marin Rising have come together to hold the workshop, “Transitioning to District Elections”, as a first step in preparing the community to learn about and continue participating in the District Election transition phase.
This workshop will be one of many as we continue to engage the community, creating avenues of civic participation leading to service on boards and commissions and running for office.
We encourage all ages to attend in order to help outline a participatory process that represents the authentic voices of the community.
We are lucky to have Chris Skinnell presenting information and answering questions about District Elections. He is a partner with Nielsen Merksamer, practicing law and civil litigation relating to elections, state and local initiative and referenda, redistricting and voting rights, campaign finance, tribal gaming, and general constitutional and government law issues. He advises clients and litigates on a broad range of election, government, and political law related matters.