You are on page 1of 20

Exercise Your Rights

DISTRICT ELECTIONS, THE CA VOTING RIGHTS ACT, HOW IT AFFECTS US
Tonight’s Speakers:

u James Lee Han (Redwood City)
u What are district elections and why does
it matter for us?

u Raúl Macías (ACLU, Northern California
Chapter)
u What are our voting rights? How do we
reduce barriers to voting minorities face?

u Sabrina Brennan (Moss Beach)
u How do we bring district elections to our
community fairly and transparently?
Hello!

u James Han
u Research Assistant, Estuary & Ocean Science Center
u Native of Redwood City
u Former City Council candidate (Redwood City)
Hello!

u James Han
u Research Assistant, Estuary & Ocean Science Center
u Native of Redwood City
u Former City Council candidate (Redwood City)
Coastside,
We Have a Problem!
u Many cities have “At-Large” elections
Coastside,
We Have a Problem!
u Many cities have “At-Large” elections
u Dilutes the voting power of minorities
(“racially polarized voting”)
Coastside,
We Have a Problem!
u Many cities have “At-Large” elections
u Dilutes the voting power of minorities
(“racially polarized voting”)
u Harder to run a campaign ($$$)
Coastside,
We Have a Problem!
u Many cities have “At-Large” elections
u Dilutes the voting power of minorities
(“racially polarized voting”)
u Harder to run a campaign ($$$)
u Communities can’t hold officials to account
District Elections
Empower Voters!
u Minority communities have more
voting power
u Elected officials become accountable
to their community
u More working people can run for office
Do District Elections Work?
Do District Elections Really Work?
Ella Hill Hutch (Photo: sfcall.com)
Do District Elections Really Work?
Ella Hill Hutch (Photo: sfcall.com)

Gordon Lau (Photo: San Francisco Public Library)
Do District Elections Really Work?
Ella Hill Hutch (Photo: sfcall.com)

Harvey Milk (Photo: SF Public Library)

Gordon Lau (Photo: SF Public Library)
Do District Elections Really Work?
Ella Hill Hutch (Photo: sfcall.com)

Carol Ruth Silver (Photo: Chinese American Int’l School)
Harvey Milk (Photo: SF Public Library)

Gordon Lau (Photo: SF Public Library)
Do District Elections Really Work?

Carol Ruth Silver (Photo: Chinese American Int’l School)

“As a colleague of Harvey Milk, our legacy was to
Gordon Lau (Photo: SF Public Library)
significantly shift the balance of power
to younger and less affluent people in San Francisco.
We were the first district-elected supervisors who had
roots in the ethnic communities of the city.”
- Carol Ruth Silver, 2011
Do District Elections Really Work?

YES!
San Mateo County

u 2011: County sued by Latinos and Filipinos
u 2012: Voters approve Measure B
u 2013: Case settled
u Video:

“Lawsuit Accuses San Mateo County
of Keeping Minorities Out of Office”

http://tinyurl.com/SMCracism
California Voting Rights Act (CVRA)

u Passed in 2001, signed into law in
2002
u Makes it easier for minority groups
to dismantle “At-Large” elections
u Minorities no longer need to
prove that a specific candidate
lost due to racially polarized
voting
u Requires government to pay all
legal and court fees for the
plaintiff if they win; this includes
settled cases
District Elections
in Menlo Park!
u Thanks to the CRVA:

Menlo Park will elect its first City Council
member from the Belle Haven community
this year!
District Elections on the Coastside

u What about US?