Transitioning to District-Based Elections For 2022
Transition to District-Based Elections
The Goleta Water District is transitioning from at-large elections, in which residents may vote for multiple candidates, to district elections, in which voters elect a single board member to represent their specific district or area. The first district-based election will take place in November 2022. The process of determining the boundaries for each of the five districts is currently underway, and the following information is provided so that you can learn about the process, submit comments, and stay informed.
When is this happening?
Under the timeline adopted by the Board of Directors, a series of hearings and meetings will take place in the fall and winter of 2021 with a final series of adoption hearings sometime in the spring of 2022. The first district-based elections will occur in November 2022.
The new electoral districts will be drawn using data from the 2020 Census, as State law requires. A professional demographer will use the Census data and the detailed information it provides to guide the boundary-drawing process, and will also consider input on where boundaries should be located so that “communities of interest” are kept together in one district. The federal government’s release of Census data has been delayed, and because of this delay, the Goleta Water District has not set dates for hearings and workshops.
The Goleta Water District will first hold public hearings to gather community input on how the maps should be drawn. Critical to the process will be the input of residents in identifying many of the smaller “communities of interest” that comprise the Goleta Valley and make the area unique. Communities of interest can include neighborhoods, ethnic or racial groups, and other characteristics that people in an area share. The demographers will consider this input in drawing district boundaries and, when possible, keep communities of interest together in one district.
Once the Census data is available, the District will hold more hearings to gather comments on draft maps the demographer proposes and any other maps the public might provide. We invite members of the public to comment on draft maps and to submit any other comments on the districting process for the District’s consideration.
What is a District-Based Election?
In a district-based electoral system, the territory of the local government is broken up into electoral districts. Residents vote for one person to represent the particular electoral district where they live. Candidates running for office generally must live within the electoral district they seek to represent.
In contrast, under an at-large electoral system, voters may vote for multiple candidates who live anywhere within the jurisdiction. The Goleta Water District has operated under an at-large electoral system since it was created, but State law now encourages all local governments like the District to transition to district-based elections.
What is the Process?
Because the District Board of Directors recognizes the importance of making sure that all residents of the Goleta Water District will be fairly represented and have opportunities to participate in the districting process, the Board of Directors established the District-Based Elections Committee. The Committee consists of the five elected members of the Board, who oversee the process. The Committee holds meetings focused exclusively on the districting issues and the creation of the new electoral districts. The District-Based Elections Committee will meet monthly from May through August of 2021. Meetings will be held the first Tuesday of the month unless otherwise noticed.
Public Hearing and Meeting Schedule
The next meeting of the District-Based Elections Committee is scheduled for May 4, 2021. An agenda and supporting materials will be published on the District’s website no less than 72 hours prior to the meeting, and they can be accessed here.
Click here for the agenda and presentation for the April 6, 2021 Special Board Meeting.
Click here for the agenda and presentation for the February 16, 2021 Special Board Meeting.
Click here for the agenda and presentation for the January 5, 2021 Special Board Meeting.
Click here for the agenda and presentation for the July 7, 2020 Special Board Meeting.
Click here for the resolution passed on August 14, 2018 by the Goleta Water District Board of Directors declaring its intent to transition the District from an at-large system of voter representation to a district-based system.
Click here for the Transitioning to District-Based Elections FAQ.