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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.

Lmoney@signalscv.com
661-287-5525
On Twitter @LukeMMoney

 

 

Comments

Allan_Cameron: Posted: July 3, 2014 1:30 a.m.

The most powerful teaching tool for kids is example set by those that would teach. Shortly, we will observe the 4th of July.

This holiday celebrates the beginning of a war in which our forbearers placed bullets in the brains, livers and other body parts of people from Britain who hoped to prevent us from being able to vote.

This was a demonstration of just how important voting was to our ancestors, and what they were willing to do to obtain it.

Short of such tactics now, forming alliances with the 482 cities in California, and the thousands of California school districts, all designed to preserve 80 percent of our right to choose who governs us, should be attempted, among other strategies.

It is virtually certain that no alliances have been formed regionally or state wide to protect the all inclusive right to vote we have now, and are about to lose.

This 4th of July should not be a celebration. A day of mourning is more appropriate.

Think of the teaching example being set for our children about the worth of voting rights for all, in 2014.


navy1987: Posted: July 3, 2014 11:51 a.m.

We don’t celebrate the beginning of the war on July 4th 1776. The actual shooting war started over a year earlier in April of 1775 and it had almost nothing to do with voting rights. The colonists had been voting for their own legislative bodies since the colonies had begun. 60% of the Declaration is a list of grievances and voting isn’t mentioned. We lacked representation in the Parliament, if that’s what you mean by not being able to vote.
Starting in the 1760’s the British tried to levee more and more taxes on the Americans (the British had to pay for their endless wars with France and felt the colonists were not paying their fair share), and for the most part the Americans refused to pay. The British tried enforce the taxes by law and by force, to try to make the Americans obey and the American rejection of those means are stated in the Declaration.
I have no idea how the 4th of July has anything to do with The Newhall School District election process



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