Business Services » California Voting Rights Act (CVRA) - Transitioning Method of Elections

California Voting Rights Act (CVRA) - Transitioning Method of Elections

What is the CVRA?
The California Voting Rights Act (CVRA) prohibits the use of an election system “that impairs the ability of a protected class to elect candidates of its choice or its ability to influence the outcome of an election.” Elected entities can be sued if their election systems result in racially polarized  voting. If a court finds against an elected entity, the elected entity must change its election system and pay substantial attorneys’ fees, costs, and expenses. 
 
Paso Robles Joint Unified School District is transitioning from at-large elections to by-trustee area elections. Beginning in November 2022, residents will vote for a single Board of Trustee candidate residing in their newly drawn trustee area. The public is invited to provide input on the district  formation mapping during public hearings. On April 25, 2021, the Board affirmed the process of converting the method by which Board members are elected.  Under the current "at-large" system, all registered voters within the District's boundaries vote for any candidate for all Board member  seats. Under the new proposed system, candidates will be elected by “trustee areas.” This means only voters within a given trustee area can vote for candidates who reside within that same area. The intent of this proposed system is to offer greater opportunities for Board representation by  candidates who might not otherwise be elected under an at-large system.  
 
The  difference between "At Large" and "By-Trustee Area" Elections?
PRJUSD currently has an "at-large" election system where voters of the entire city elect all members of the School Board. A “by-trustee area” election system will carve PRJUSD's district into seven (7) "by-trustee areas." Voters in each "by-trustee area" will choose their School Board  representative, who must also live in that "by-trustee area." 
 
The Paso Robles Joint USD held the first of three Public Hearings on May 25,2021 regarding Trustee Area Scenarios. FOUR (4) different Trustee area scenarios were presented and discussed. The second Public Hearing was held on June 8,2021  where area scenarios were discussed at length. On June 22,2021 the Paso Paso Robles Board of Trustees approved the new Trustee Area Map.  

The Paso Robles Joint Unified School District completed the process to transition from at-large to by-trustee area elections earlier this year utilizing 2010 Census data. In a by-trustee area election system, each trustee is required to reside within a defined trustee area.

Upon release of the U.S. Decennial Census data, school districts that use by-trustee area elections are required to evaluate whether the current trustee areas have approximately equal population using the new census data. The variation in total population among trustee areas must not exceed 10%. If the total peak variation is less than 10%, no changes are needed. If the total peak variation exceeds 10%, trustee area boundaries need to be adjusted. This process is referred to as “redistricting.”

The District hired profession a demographers, Cooperative Strategies, to conduct a study of the 2020 Census data to determine whether the current trustee areas are population balanced. After evaluating the data, Cooperative Strategies determined that the District will need to make adjustments to the current boundaries. Cooperative Strategies will present the findings of their study and present two proposed map adjustments for the Board and community to consider.

Thereafter, the Board will hold a public hearing to gather input regarding the proposed map adjustment options.
On January 25, 2022, Cooperative Strategies will again present its study of the 2020 census data, as well as four potential map options.
 
Timeline
 
January 11,2022 Cooperative Strategies Presentation
Public Hearing Notices/ Aviso de Audiencia Publica
January 25,2022 Public Hearing Redistricting Map Adjustment/ Aviso de audencia publica con respecto a las opciones de redistribucion de mapas 
January 11,2022  Public Hearing Redistricting and Map Adjustment / Aviso de audencia publica con respecto a las opciones de redistribució de mapas  
 
June 22, 2021 - Trustee Area Scenarios - Third Public Hearing
 
May 25, 2021 - Trustee Area Scenarios (First Hearing)/Escenarios del area de fideicomisonario (Primera Audencia)
May 11, 2021 - Potential composition of trustee-areas prior to drawing of maps (Second Hearing)/composición potencial del área de la Mesa Directiva antes de dibujar los mapas(Segunda Audiencia)
April 27, 2021 - General Waiver Request/pedido de renuncia general
April 27, 2021 - Potential composition of trustee-area prior to drawing of maps (First Hearing)/composición potencial del área de la Mesa Directiva antes de dibujar los mapas(Primera Audiencia)

Approved Trustee Area Maps