City of Concord, California

District Elections

Council District Election Map Selected for November 2018 Election

At the February 27, 2018, City Council meeting, the fourth public hearing was held on proposed district boundary maps and the draft ordinance to establish five Council voting districts. The City Council voted to introduce Ordinance 18-2 and waive further reading, which established the Cobalt Plan map as the map setting five Council District boundaries that will apply in the November 2018 District Elections. The adoption of the ordinance occured on March 6, 2018. The Council also directed staff to propose a work plan to explore the establishment of an independent commission for the next re-districting effort which will occur after the 2020 U.S. Census Data has been received by the City, before the 2022 election. Until now, five City Councilmembers were elected at-large, meaning that all registered voters had the opportunity to vote for all five council positions. Under the new system, City Councilmembers will be elected by district. One Councilmember, who lives in a district, will be elected by people (registered voters) who also live in the same district. This process has allowed the City to become compliant with the California Voting Rights Act of 2001.

Background

On January 2nd, the City Council voted to transition from at-large to district elections.

On January 16th, the first public hearing was held to receive community input on what criteria to use to establish district boundaries.

The following criteria must be met in creating election districts:

  1. Each Council district must contain a nearly equal population. The 2010 Census numbers will be used to determine the population number for each district.
  2. Council district borders must be drawn in a manner that complies with the state and federal constitutions, state law, and the federal Voting Rights Act.
  3. In establishing district boundaries, the City Council may give consideration to the following factors: topography, geography, cohesiveness, contiguity, integrity, compactness of territory, and "community of interests" such as neighborhoods, school boundaries, and common interests.
  4. The City Council may also establish other criteria, as long as they do not conflict with federal or state law.

At the January 23rd public hearing, the Council directed the City's independent demographer to create 4 alternative maps illustrating five potential Council voting districts in Concord that were published on January 30, 2018.

On February 6th, the City Council held the third public hearing to receive input on the four draft maps. At that meeting, testimony was received on the four maps from 28 residents through Community Town Hall, 10 e-mails, and 24 speakers. After public comment, Council made changes to the Blue Plan to create the Cobalt Map, which achieved the following, 1) renumbered District 1 to become District 2 and vice versa, 2) divided the Concord Naval Weapons Station into three districts, 3) moved the Downtown BART station and area to the east of it to District 2 to keep the downtown together, and 4) resulted in a lower population deviation of 4.3%. They directed staff to keep the precincts whole to allow a 2018 District Election.

These maps were created at the direction of City Council, indicating to staff to be sure each district contains nearly equal population, and keeping communities of interest, such as neighborhoods, undivided by a district boundary, to the extent feasible, while also respecting visible natural and man-made geographical and topographical features, including parks, and major transportation corridors such as Clayton Road, Willow Pass and Treat. Although not required by state law, the Council also requested that the City's districts follow existing precinct boundaries, where feasible, to facilitate the County's ability to conduct elections in 2018.

A map of the distributions of Concord's population was also created to allow for the public to submit different versions of the election districts.

Outreach Plan

The public provided input through the following array of options throughout the process.

Concord Community Town Hall:

Input during the District Election Process was received through topic forums on Concord Community Town Hall, a new civic engagement forum. The link is located on this page at the top of the column on the right.

Emails and letters

Send your comments to the City by email to DistrictElections@cityofconcord.org or by mail to City of Concord, District Elections - attn. Laura Simpson, 1950 Parkside Dr., MS 01B, Concord, CA 94519.

How often are the voting districts reviewed?

Because the population numbers in each district are determined by Census numbers, the voting districts will be reviewed every ten years following the Census. The next Census will be conducted in 2020, so the districts will be reviewed after the Census counts are released in 2021, and revised as necessary.

Why did the City of Concord transition from at-large to district elections?

The City received two separate letters from attorneys charging that Concord's at-large elections didn't conform to the California Voting Rights Act of 2001 (CVRA). Under this statute, local at-large voting systems are prohibited if they "impair the ability of a protected class … to elect candidates of its choice or otherwise influence the outcome of an election." The remedy available under the CVRA is usually for the city to move to district elections.

Considering the significant costs to defend against a CVRA lawsuit and that no city has prevailed, a majority of cities receiving such "CVRA demand letters" have voluntarily transitioned to district-based election systems.

On January 1, 2017, the California Voter Rights Act Reform (AB 350) became effective which allows cities a "safe harbor" following receipt of a CVRA demand letter. This provides 45 days of protection from litigation to assess the situation, and if a resolution declaring an intent to transition to district-based elections is adopted within the 45-day period, then a CVRA action is forestalled for an additional 90-day period, providing the City time to assess and implement a course of action. By taking this approach Concord caps its financial liability at a maximum of $30,000. The Concord City Council decided to move forward with District Elections under the safe harbor provided by the California Voter Rights Act Reform.

City Voting Population by Race and Ethnicity

Concord Population^ Citizen Voting Age Population+
# % # %
Total 122,067 100.0% 81,803 100.0%
White* 61,416 50.3% 51,037 62.4%
Latino 37,311 30.6% 14,653 17.9%
Asian* 16,348 13.4% 10,504 12.8%
Black* 4,702 3.9% 4,309 5.3%

* Does not include Latinos. Calculated pursuant to OMB BULLETIN NO. 00-02.
^ 2010 Census Redistricting Data [P.L. 94-171] Summary File, U.S. Census Bureau.
+ Citizen Voting Age Population Special Tabulation from the 2011-2015 5-Year American Community Survey, U.S. Census Bureau.

 
City of Concord CA