Why is the city divided into two districts?

The ballot propositions proposes that Santa Clara be divided into two districts, each of which elects three members to the city council every four years.  Why?

There are several reasons that dividing the city into two districts makes our elections better:

  • First, as Santa Clara continues to grow, the effort and money required for individuals to run for office also increases.  By dividing the city into two districts, each of which has roughly 65,000 people, a candidate needs to spend less money on many things, and it is easier for candidates to meet their constituents, walk the precincts to discuss issues.
  • Second, because of the demographics in the city, by dividing the city into two districts it makes it more likely that citizens protected by the California Voter Rights Act will be able to via ranked choice voting elect candidates of their choosing, since to win in a three member district a candidate needs support of 25% of the voting population.
  • Lastly, the city is currently being sued for violating the California Voter Rights Act, and while it's unclear whether the city is actually at fault or not, the law provides a safe harbor for cities which adopt districts in response to a lawsuit.  Not including districts might lead to the city being liable for hundreds of thousands of dollars in legal fees, which doesn't help anyone in the city.

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