San Juan Water District holds elections for members of its five-member Board of Directors every two years on a staggered schedule (2 positions in 2020, 3 in 2022), for four-year terms. These elections are held via “at-large” elections – meaning all voters in San Juan’s wholesale service area – which includes your business or household – vote at each District election for candidates running to fill the open positions on the Board.
On March 30, 2020, San Juan Water District received a certified letter from lawyers for the Southwest Voter registration Education Project alleging that the District’s method of electing Board members through “at-large” elections, rather than elections by division, violates the California Voting Rights Act.
On May 13, 2020, the District’s Board of Directors adopted a resolution declaring its intent to initiate procedures to transition from at-large elections to division-based elections. The District will implement a division-based election system beginning with the November 2022 election. The Board of Directors has directed staff to work with a demographer, and other consultants as needed, to analyze the District’s current demographics and any other information or data necessary, and to prepare one or more draft maps that divide the District into proposed voting divisions in a manner consistent with the requirements of the California and federal Voting Rights Acts.
The following table lays out the steps the District will take to implement division-based elections. Interested parties are encouraged to participate in the electoral division maps process by attending the public meetings shown in this schedule and submitting oral or written comments regarding the maps of the proposed voting divisions.
Following disruptions at the July 8 meeting, which resulted in some phone lines being terminated and the meeting ending before all public comment could be taken, the District determined to re-start the hearing process to ensure that all interested members of the public who wish to participate in this process are able to do so. Consequently, the District will conduct two hearings in compliance with Elections Code section 10010 starting in August, 2020. All comments submitted on or before October 14, 2020 were considered by the Board and will be included in the record of proceedings for this matter.