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Ballot Measure on How Santa Clara Voters Elect their Councilmembers Heads to March 2020 Special Election

Current City Charter language states that councilmembers are elected at-large

Post Date:11/25/2019 8:45 AM
CONTACT: Lenka Wright, Director of Communications, 408-615-5515Call: 408-615-5515 or lwright@santaclaraca.gov

SANTA CLARA, Calif. – On Tuesday, Nov. 19, the City Council approved placing a ballot measure on the March 3, 2020 Special Election to amend the City Charter to provide for council district elections.

If the voters approve the measure, Santa Clara would:
  • Elect City councilmembers by district (except the mayor who will be elected citywide);
  • For the 2020 election, establish six districts in which each councilmember represents one district;
  • Beginning with the 2022 election, establish three districts in which two councilmembers represent one district;
  • Require Council candidates to be residents of the district they represent for a minimum of 30 days prior to the filing deadline to run for office;
  • Require the mayor, chief of police and city clerk to be a Santa Clara resident for a minimum of 30 days prior to the filing deadline to run for office; and
  • Require an independent redistricting committee that would set the boundary lines of the three Council districts.
For more information about the ballot measure, view the agenda item.

Background
In November 2018, the City held its first district-based election as required by a ruling of the Santa Clara Superior Court. The Court ordered district-based elections with six Council districts for the November 2020 election. The ruling did not amend the City Charter itself.

Currently, the Charter still states that City councilmembers are to be elected “at-large, by seat.” The Charter can only be amended with approval of the voters.

The Council had placed an advisory measure, Measure N, on the Nov. 6, 2018 ballot to determine if voters wanted to engage in a public process to draft charter amendment language to elect its councilmember, other than the mayor, by district. Santa Clara voters approved Measure N with more than 70% of the vote.

In July 2019, the Council appointed a 7-member Charter Review Committee which conducted public outreach and made the recommendation that the Council adopted.

For the latest information on the March 2020 election, visit SantaClaraCA.gov/elections.
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