What is the California Voting Rights Act (CVRA)?
The California Voting Rights Act (CVRA) was passed by the California State Legislature to implement the California constitutional guarantees of equal protection and the right to vote. The CVRA specifically targets at-large election systems and prohibits such election systems from being imposed in a manner “that impairs the ability of a protected class to elect candidates of its choice or its ability to influence the outcome of an election.” Under the CVRA, the City Council has an opportunity to voluntarily transition to by-district elections and avoid a costly lawsuit. In recent years more than 250 California cities and school districts have transitioned from at-large to district elections.
What is a Protected Class?
A class of voters who are members of a race, color, or language minority group.
What are By-District Elections?
The City of Montebello has begun considering a transition to by-district elections, per Resolution No. 21-43 adopted on May 26, 2021. As it stands, there are no separate geographical districts for City Council Members. Currently, the City of Montebello uses an “at-large election system where all Montebello residents vote for all available seats of the City Council.”
In a “by-district” election system, each Council Member would represent a specific section of Montebello and be elected only by those who live in that defined district. As of the General Election of November 8, 2020, the City of Montebello will have a total of five (5) voting districts. One City Council Member will be elected from each district. The district boundaries must be ultimately drawn in conjunction with Federal and State law so that the districts shall be nearly equal in population. In establishing the boundaries of the districts, the Council may give consideration to the following factors: communities of interest, compactness of districts, contiguity of district territory, visible nature or man-made boundaries, geography and topography.
What is a Community of Interest?
A community of interest is a neighborhood or geographically defined group with shared interests or characteristics that could be affected by district boundaries. Possible communities of interest may be defined by factors such as:
- School attendance areas
- Natural neighborhood dividing lines such as roads, hills or highways
- Areas around parks and other landmarks and public facilities
- Homeowner associations
- Common local issues, neighborhood activities or concerns
- Single-family and multi-family housing units
- Historical and other unique areas
- Development goals
- Local environmental concerns
- Transportation corridors
How are new Districts Drawn?
To define the new districts, the City Council must undertake a district formation mapping process, led by a demographer and legal team to ensure that the maps meet all legal and regulatory criteria. The City of Montebello is committed to the transparency of this process and encourages residents and stakeholders to participate.
Attend one (or all) of our public hearings and bring your questions and comments to our demographer and fellow attendees. The hearings will provide an opportunity for public input to be presented by attendees. The demographer will use this public input in constructing the draft maps. The draft maps will be posted on the City’s website for review no later than seven days before each hearing is scheduled.
Tentative Public Hearing Schedule: (*All dates are subject to change)
- Public Hearing No. 1 – held October 13, 2021
- Public Hearing No. 2 – November 13, 2021 CLICK HERE FOR VIDEO RECORDING
- Public Hearing No. 3 & 4 – January-February 2022 (Dates to be announced)
- Adoption of Final District Map – no later than March 9, 2022
- Implement By-District Election Process – 2022 Regular Election
Can I Participate?
Yes, public participation is vital to facilitating this change and to create maps of new City Council districts.
Submit a Visualization Map! Deadline is January 6, 2021
Below is a downloadable map where residents can draw their own preferred districts and submit their map to the City Clerks Office, 1600 W. Beverly Boulevard. The City along with the Demographer will incorporate the submitted resident feedback into the final map of the City. One of our primary goals when creating these maps is to draw lines that respect neighborhoods, history, and geographical elements. So it is very important to hear from residents what you consider the boundaries of your neighborhood to be.
Share your specific thoughts, or attend an upcoming workshop to get involved!
- Follow our social media, website and weekly newsletter for information on drawing and submitting maps
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
- Get the tools you need to draw a map of the districts
- Share your opinions of the draft maps
- Talk to and invite your neighbors and local organizations to participate
By-District Election Documents
- Agenda Report - May 26, 2021
- Resolution No. 21-43 "Declaring Intention to Transition..."
- November 13 Public Hearing Notice
- Transition to distrcit Elections Presentation
- CVRA Presentation