This week’s politics in Elk Grove featured the first of four Public Hearings on the by-district voting system. On Wednesday, Elk Grove residents got their chance to provide input on whether Sacramento county’s second largest city should change the way it does elections.
Currently, the City of Elk Grove holds elections from-district, meaning every resident votes for every council member, including those from districts outside of their own. Switching to by-district elections would allow each district to choose its own council member exclusively.
As reported earlier by Elk Grove Tribune, prompted by the threat of a Civil Rights lawsuit, City Council in late August adopted a resolution expressing intent to move to by-district elections. California law requires Public Hearings whenever a local government makes such a declaration. Two of the four Public Hearings feature public input about the makeup of the districts being proposed, while the final two focus on the proposed district maps.
Wednesday’s hearing offered residents a first opportunity to voice their opinions on the proposed move.
Lifelong Elk Grove resident, Karif Lawrence, a supporter of by-district voting, told City Council: “For the first time I feel as though going by-district will help to represent who I am. When I look at this council, I don’t see anyone who looks like me […] As council members, you should each be accountable to n0t just live in a particular area, but also be accountable to the citizens of that particular area.”
Lawrence also recommended the City of Elk Grove implement by-district voting in time for the 2020 city council elections.
Among the speakers at Wednesday’s Public Hearing was Maureen Craft, candidate for Elk Grove City Council District 3.
“It is our civil rights to have by-district voting,” said Craft, adding, “The lawsuit will cost us millions of dollars. Why would we wanna put that on the heads of Elk Grove Residents? […] Do the right thing, go to by-district voting.”
Elk Grove resident Shirley Peters rose to oppose the by-district voting saying: “Ours is a very interesting neighborhood […] Our neighborhood has a highly diversified representation of people from all over the world and all over the United States […] Elk Grove rural lifestyle and its integrity must be preserved. That is why the from-district voting system is supported.”
Peters also recommended a public vote on the proposed voting system changes.
The next Public Hearing is scheduled for Wednesday, September 25.
See video of the Council meeting here: Public Hearing #1.
Anticipated Public Hearing Schedule
September 25: Receive input on proposed districts
October 9: Provide input on proposed district maps
October 23: Provide input on proposed district maps