The City of Malibu is asking residents to weigh in on by-district voting, a proposed change to the way Malibu’s city council members are elected.
During the Monday, Feb. 24, council meeting, the council will be taking comments from residents about the concept of district voting, where the city is divided into districts with one representative from each area sitting on council. City staff will also present information on the proposal.
This is the opportunity for residents to express their opinions about how maps should be drawn.
As previously reported in The Malibu Times:
In a letter dated Oct. 25, attorney Milton Grimes threatened the City of Malibu with litigation under the California Voting Rights Act (CVRA) of 2001. The letter, officially received by the city clerk’s office on Oct. 28, alleged Malibu’s at-large voting system violated the CVRA and called for the city to adopt district-based elections.
According to Grimes’ letter, Malibu’s at-large voting system dilutes the ability of Latinos to elect their preferred candidates or influence city elections. According to census data, Malibu residents of Latino/Hispanic origin made up 6.1 percent of the population in 2010. The most recent numbers estimate 8.7 percent.
“Voting rights advocates have targeted ‘at-large’ election schemes for decades, because they often result in ‘vote dilution,’ or the impairment of minority groups’ ability to elect their preferred candidates or influence the outcome of elections, which occurs when the electorate votes in a racially polarized manner,” Grimes wrote in the letter.
A transition to district-based elections would be a significant change for Malibu, affecting how city council would look moving forward, according to Assistant City Attorney Trevor Rusin.
“While this wasn’t brought to the city in a way that we prefer, and our hand was forced in terms of dealing with this issue, it’s an important issue,” Rusin said. “And whether we move to districts is a subject that deserves the attention of the whole community.”
The city also plans to hold public hearings presenting draft maps showing proposed districts on Thursday, March 12, and Thursday, March 26, both at 6 p.m. at City Hall.
More information on the proposal and next steps is available at malibucity.org/districtelections.