City of Concord, California

District Elections

Concord's Change to District Elections

Concord is about to change the way it elects City Councilmembers. The City needs your help in deciding where the district boundaries should be drawn.

Currently, five City Councilmembers are elected at-large, meaning that all registered voters have 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.

What are the rules for creating election districts?

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.

How will the election district boundaries be decided?

Before developing draft district boundaries, the City Council will take comments from residents and interested community groups at two public hearings to understand the community's view of where district boundaries should be drawn. They will then define the criteria they want the hired independent demographer to use in creating one or more proposed district maps.  The demographer's goal will be to draw map options that meet the criteria and take into account comments from the community as prioritized by the City Council. The City Council will present the draft maps for public comment and review at two additional public hearings. The City Council will provide further direction to the demographer after the public hearings, who will revise the map or maps which will then go before the City Council for a final vote.  By law, the City Council is the final decision making body on adopting district boundaries.

How can I participate in the decision-making process?

Public Hearings:

The community's input in the development of the voting districts is very important to this process. The City Council will hold two public hearings before maps are developed to get community input on where district boundaries should be drawn. Draft maps will be developed from these public hearings. These public hearings will be held January 16 and January 23, 2018.

Two additional public hearings will be held to present and take comment on the draft map or maps. These public hearings will take place February 6 and February 27, 2018.

A final map or maps will go to the City Council for a vote on March 13, 2018.

All meetings will be held at the Concord Civic Center, 1950 Parkside Drive, in the City Council Chamber beginning at 6, 6:30 or 7 p.m. Check the Upcoming Meetings Calendar on the home page for individual meeting start times.

The meetings will also be televised on Concord Cable TV channels Comcast 28, Astound 29, AT&T U-verse 99, and will be streamed live on the City's website from the home page.

Concord Community Town Hall:

Tell us about where you think the election district boundaries should be drawn on Concord Community Town Hall, a new online 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 is the City of Concord going from at-large to district elections?

The City received two separate letters from attorneys charging that Concord's at-large elections don'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 has determined that moving forward with District Elections under the safe harbor provided by the California Voter Rights Act Reform is the best course for the City and is proceeding to do so.

Where can I get more information?

Information updates will be posted on this website as the process moves forward. Proposed district maps will be available on the website and on Concord Community Town Hall by the February 6, 2018 meeting date.

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