Transitioning to Division-Based Elections

 

Carmichael Water District holds elections for its five-member Board of Directors (Board) every two years on a staggered schedule for four-year terms. Currently, the District has a “from-division” election system, where candidates must live in a specific division but the voters of the entire District are able to vote for all candidates. This is considered a form of at-large voting.

On January 18, 2022, the District’s Board adopted Resolution No. 01182022-1 declaring its intent to initiate procedures to transition from at-large elections to division-based elections per the procedures provided in Elections Code section 10010.  In a by-division election system, candidates must reside and be registered to vote in a specific division in order to be elected to that division’s board seat and voters within each division vote only for those candidates. Under federal election law and the California Voting Rights Act of 2001 (CVRA), the by-division election system is preferred as the system is most consistent with the constitutional “one-person, one-vote” rule. The District plans to implement a division-based election system beginning with the November 2024 election.

The Board directed staff to analyze the District’s current population distribution of the five existing election  divisions.  The analysis also includes concentrations of minority populations and other demographic features that the Board may consider in redrawing division boundaries to comply with the CVRA.  Based on this analysis, staff will prepare one or more draft maps for the Board to consider as part of initiating voluntary proceedings to change to a by-division election system.

The following table describes the steps the District will take to implement division-based elections. We encourage residents in Carmichael Water District’s service area to participate in the electoral division mapping process by attending the public meetings shown here and submitting oral or written comments.