City Served with California Voting Rights Act Demand Letter and Proposed Actions

Citrus Heights, CA  |  By Amy Van, City Clerk

City of Citrus Heights Special Release

CITRUS HEIGHTS, CA (MPG) - On December 3, 2018, the City received a certified letter from the law firm of Shenkman & Hughes, alleging the City’s method of electing councilmembers through an at large or city-wide, versus a by-district, election violated the California Voting Rights Act (“CVRA”). In all previous elections, members of the City Council have been elected at large by the voters of the City.

Regardless of whether the City agrees with the allegations outlined by Shenkman & Hughes, there is no city or public agency that has successfully defended an at large method of election, when challenged under the CVRA. The City Council is aware of the exorbitant cost that multiple cities and other public entities have faced in defending and/or settling CVRA litigation, and the impact that the expenditure of such costs could have on the City’s ability to provide essential services to the City’s residents and businesses.

As a result, at the City Council meeting scheduled for January 10, 2019, the Council will be considering whether to adopt a resolution declaring the Council’s intent to transition to district based elections. If the transition is made, councilmembers will be required to live in the district they represent and will be elected only by the voters of that district.

Should the City initiate the transition, a series of public workshops will be held to obtain public feedback in the districting process. Once the City has reached a formal agreement with the plaintiff’s attorney as to the districting timeline, workshop details will be released on www.citrusheights.net.