View Mobile Site

Ask the Expert

Signal Photos


UPDATE: Newhall School District to look at cumulative voting, even-year elections

Posted: July 2, 2014 12:08 p.m.
Updated: July 2, 2014 6:48 p.m.

Faced with a potential lawsuit over alleged violations of the California Voting Rights Act, the Newhall School District board voted this week to switch its elections to even-numbered years and adopt cumulative voting — if those moves are deemed legal.

“The superintendent will initiate the process of changing to cumulative voting and even-year elections assuming recent settlement agreements initiating the transition to cumulative voting and even-year elections are held to be legally valid,” reads the recommended board action from Tuesday.

Such a determination will likely be made during review of settlements agreed to by the city of Santa Clarita and the Santa Clarita Community College District to settle lawsuits filed against them.

The suits allege that their at-large election methods — whereby voters can cast ballots for every seat up for election in a given year — diluted the power of Latino voters to elect candidates of their choice.

As part of their settlement agreements, both the city and the community college district, which oversees College of the Canyons, agreed to pursue a cumulative voting method and change their election dates to fall in November of even-numbered years.

In a cumulative voting system, voters in an election with more than one seat on the ballot could cast all their votes for one preferred candidate should they so choose.

“We are working to make sure that every voter is represented, and represented regardless of what their last name is,” Newhall district board President Brian Walters said Wednesday.

District Superintendent Marc Winger said the solution would fit the Newhall School District.

“In terms of achieving the goal, and the goal should be representation from all our stakeholders in the district, we think this a good solution for us,” he said.

The Newhall district, along with the Castaic Union School District, Saugus Union School District and William S. Hart Union High School District, recently received letters from Kevin Shenkman, an attorney with the Malibu-based firm Shenkman & Hughes.

The letter sent to the Newhall district alleged the district’s at-large elections diluted the power of minority residents, particularly Latinos, to elect candidates of their choice or influence the district’s board elections.

“Given the lack of minority representation on the Board of Trustees in the context of racially polarized elections, we again urge NSD to voluntarily change its at-large system of electing board members,” the letter reads.

“Otherwise, on behalf of residents within the jurisdiction, we will be forced to seek judicial relief.”

Another local school district, the Sulphur Springs School District, was also served with a lawsuit alleging violations of the California Voting Rights Act, but it agreed to move to by-district elections as part of a settlement agreement.
On Twitter @LukeMMoney




Commenting not available.
Commenting is not available.


Powered By
Morris Technology
Please wait ...