On April 28, 2022, the City received a letter challenging the City’s current election system and asserting that the City’s at-large election system violates the California Voting Rights Act (CVRA). The City of Gonzales is not unique in this situation. Agencies throughout the State have received similar demand letters prompting a shift from at-large to district-based elections. While it is unclear if the City’s current system runs afoul of existing law, the cost of litigation to defend the at-large system, coupled with the track record of other public agencies that have fought similar challenges, poses a significant financial and legal risk to the City. In light of the letter and to protect the City from financial and legal risks, Gonzales has initiated action to transition its election process to district-based elections.
The City of Gonzales, like hundreds of cities and school districts across the state, is making a change in how voters elect its City Councilmembers. Beginning in 2024, voters will vote for one City Council Member who lives in their district. This will replace the current system of at-large citywide elections in which voters have the ability to vote for all City Council Members. We need your help to make this change and draw City Council districts! One of our primary goals when drawing City Council districts is to draw lines that respect neighborhoods and communities of interest. So we want to know: What do you consider the boundaries of your neighborhood? Which areas should be in just one district for fair representation?