District Based Board of Directors Elections

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District Based Board of Directors Elections

The Novato Fire District is engaged in a process to change the way that Board Directors are elected by transitioning to a district-based election system. Currently all five Directors are elected at-large, meaning that all registered voters who reside in Novato Fire District have the opportunity to vote for all five Director positions.

Frequently Asked Questions  English and Español

District-Based Election System

A district-based election system would divide the Novato Fire District into geographic districts. Directors will be required to live in the district that they represent and will be elected only by registered voters of that district.

Why transition to district elections?

In 2002, the Legislature enacted the California Voting Rights Act (CVRA) (Elec. Code §§14025 – 14032), which prohibits California public agencies, including municipal governments, from imposing or applying an at-large election method "that impairs the ability of a protected class to elect candidates of its choice or its ability to influence the outcome of an election" (Elec. Code §14027). A protected class is defined by the CVRA as "a class of voters who are members of a race, color, or language minority group, as this class is referenced and defined in the federal Voting Rights Act of 1965".

In a lawsuit brought pursuant to the CVRA, a plaintiff who establishes a history of a "racially polarized voting" under an agency's at-large election system can require the agency to change to a district-based election system and pay for his or her attorneys' fees. Pursuant to California Elections Code section 10010, an agency can avoid even the filing of a lawsuit if it adopts a resolution of intention to move to district-based elections and, within 90 days thereafter, it adopts a district map for use in future elections. In order to avoid the high cost and burden of needless litigation, and on the advice of legal counsel, on May 1, 2019, the Novato Fire District Board of Directors adopted a resolution outlining its intention to transition from at-large to district-based elections , which includes specific steps the District will undertake to facilitate the transition, and an estimated timeframe for doing so. The Elections Code provides that, in order to avoid the filing of a lawsuit and to cap possible attorneys' fees, the District has 90 days to adopt an ordinance providing for district-based elections.

Schedule & Timeline

The Novato Fire District Board of Directors has 90 days from May 1, 2019 to move from an at-large to district-based elections system. Our proposed schedule, as adopted in Resolution 2019-5 is listed below:

Attend a Public Hearing

We want your input in the development of Novato Fire District voting districts.

Join us at thefollowing Board of Director Meetings/Public Hearings to provide your feedback:

Location: Fire Station 61, 7025 Redwood Blvd, Novato. Meetings are held upstairs in the Berthinier Conference Area. Meetings begin at 6 p.m.

May 22: Public Hearing #1

June 5: Public Hearing #2

June 19: Public Hearing #3. Draft Map review

June 26: Special Meeting to adopt Preliminary Annual Budget

July 3: Public Hearing #4

 

Proposed Schedule for

transition to District-based

elections.

  • DATE
  • EVENT
  • COMMENT

1-May-19

Resolution of Intention:

CVRA Action/ suit may not be commenced for 90 days (or before 7/31/19 unless period is extended pursuant to California Elections Code Subsection 10010(e)(3)(C)(i))

Board of Directors adopts Resolution declaring its intention to transition from at-large to district-based elections

May 2-May 21, 2019

Public Outreach

Re: Process and participation

22-May-19

1st Public Hearing

Re: Composition of Districts

5-Jun-19

2nd Public Hearing

Re: Composition of Districts

12-Jun-19

Post Draft Maps and Potential Sequence of Elections

19-Jun-19

3rd Public Hearing

Re: Draft Maps

26-Jun-19

Any changes/ amendments to 1st Map draft posted

3-Jul-19

4th Public Hearing

Re: Draft Maps.

If selected map is amended, resolution formally adopting switch would not be made until 7 days after publication of amended map. If there are no changes, Board could formally adopt Resolution making switch to District-based elections