Districting FAQs

Frequently Asked Questions About District Elections

What's The Difference Between At-Large and District-Based Elections?

Yuba City has always had an at-large election system, where voters of the entire city elect all members of the City Council. District elections will divide the city into geographic sections. Voters within said section (district) will vote only for candidates residing within the same district. Voters will not vote for candidates outside of their own district.

Voting Blocks

How Are District Elections Designed To Benefit Voters?

District elections are intended to allow groups of concentrated opposition voters to elect, or otherwise influence, candidates of their choice. However, the desired outcome may not be achieved if the opposition voters reside relatively evenly throughout a city.

Why does districting matter to me?

Districting determines which neighborhoods and communities are grouped together into a district for purposes of electing Council Members.  The City Council will seek input in selecting the next district map for electing Council Members.  You have an opportunity to share with the City Council how you think district boundaries should be drawn to best represent your community either during the public hearings or by submitting comments here.

How Can I Get Involved And Influence The Shaping Of Districts?

Between now and December 16, 2021, two additional Public Hearings will be held "post-map" to provide the City Council with feedback in selecting a preferred district map for adoption.  You can view the proposed schedule on the main districting page, submit proposed maps, provided comments, or attend the hearings.

What criteria will our City Council use when drawing district lines?

1. Federal Laws

- Equal Population (based on total population of residents as determined by the most recent federal decennial census and adjusted by the State to reassign incarcerated persons to the last known place of residence)
- Federal Voting Rights Act
- No Racial Gerrymandering

2. California Criteria for Cities (to the extent practicable and in the following
order of priority)

- Geographically contiguous (areas that meet only at the points of adjoining corners are not contiguous. Areas that are separated by water and not connected by a bridge, tunnel, or ferry service are not contiguous.

- Undivided neighborhoods and “communities of interest” (Socioeconomic geographic areas that should be kept together for purposes of its effective and fair representation)

- Easily identifiable boundaries.

- Compact (Do not bypass one group of people to get to a more distant group of people)

“Shall not favor or discriminate against a political party.”

3. Other Traditional Redistricting Principles

- Minimize voters shifted to different election years

- Respect voters’ choices / continuity in office

- Future population growth

- Preserving the core of existing districts

What Are "Communities of Interest"?

A "community of interest" is a neighborhood or community that would benefit from being in the same district because of shared interest, views, or characteristics. Possible community features include:

  • School Attendance Areas;
  • Natural dividing lines such as major roads, hills, or highways;
  • Areas around parks and other neighborhood landmarks;
  • Common issues, neighborhood activities, or legislative/election concerns; and
  • Shared demographic characteristics, such as:
    • Similar levels of income, education, or linguistic isolation;
    • Languages spoken at home; and
    • Single-family and multi-family housing unit areas.

Who Creates The District Maps?

Professional demographers are hired by cities to create proposed district boundaries. These demographers ensure that the proposed maps comply with FVRA and CVRA requirements as well as consider the feedback received from the community during the Public Hearing process.

Shouldn't This Go To The Voters For Approval?

Even if the voters ultimately oppose switching to district elections, cities would remain vulnerable to accusations that the election resulted in polarized-voting in violation of the CVRA. Therefore, City Councils must decide whether to follow the procedures under Elections Code Section 10010 (PDF) or to defend its at-large election system in court.

I Heard Other Cities Have Refused To Switch, What's Different Over There?

Every city has its own set of circumstances including whether it’s a Charter city, demographic make-up, budgetary considerations, and other factors which may support a decision to attempt to keep at-large elections. One significant difference being whether a city is a Charter or a General Law city. Charter cities may argue that elections are a "municipal affair" and that the CVRA does not apply. However, Yuba City is a General Law city and subject to the CVRA.

What Happens If There Are No Candidates In A Particular District?

Assuming the district map is adopted, but no candidate runs for office, the California Elections Code authorizes the City Council to solicit applications from interested parties that reside within the district. The applicants would be considered and finalists would be interviewed by the City Council. A nominee would be appointed to serve on the City Council to represent the district in question. If this situation were to occur specific details, deadlines, and the application process would be vetted and approved by the City Council.