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Ballot Measure C - District Elections

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March 2020 Ballot Measure C - District Elections

Santa Clara will have a Special Election on March 3, 2020, which is also the election for the California Presidential Primary. Measure C will appear on the ballot asking Santa Clara voters to decide whether to amend the City Charter to elect councilmembers by district. The City Council placed Measure C on the ballot following the recommendation of a Charter Review Committee composed of seven Santa Clara residents from across the city.

Measure C reads as follows:

DISTRICT COUNCIL ELECTIONS: Shall the City Charter be amended to elect city council members by district, excepting the mayor, as follows: for the 2020 election to establish six districts for the election of one council member to represent each district; and, beginning in 2022 to establish three districts for the election of two council members to represent each district; and to require an independent redistricting committee?


If Measure C is approved by the voters, Santa Clarans 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 each district;
    • Only Council Districts 1, 4, 5 and 6 will be on the November 2020 ballot.
  • Beginning with the 2022 election, establish three districts in which two councilmembers represent each 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.


The City held its first district-based election in November 2018 as required by a ruling of the Santa Clara Superior Court following a lawsuit under the California Voting Rights Act. The court ruling did not amend the City Charter which still states that councilmembers are elected “at-large, by seat”. The City Charter can only be amended by the voters.

In November 2018, Measure N asked voters if they wanted to engage in a public process to draft City Charter amendment language. Voters passed Measure N with 70.4% approval. Measure C is the result of the public process conducted by the Charter Review Committee.

Resolution 19-8783 (Resolution Submitting the Ballot Measure to March 3, 2020 Special Election)

City Attorney’s Impartial Analysis of Measure

Argument Against Measure

Argument in Favor of Measure

2019 Charter Review Committee Process

There will be various levels of voter information and outreach on Measure C for the March 2020 election.

Outreach will include:

  • The City's website at
  • Social media
  • Posting of flyers/maps at City facilities (i.e., City Hall, libraries, community rooms, etc.)
  • Mailer(s)
  • Article in the winter/spring edition of Inside Santa Clara
  • Utility bill inserts

For more information, please contact the City Clerk's Office at 408-615-2220Call: 408-615-2220 or email

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