Council Districting
Districting Process

Districting Process

The process of considering whether to transition to district elections involves using census and geographic data to develop districts of the City from which Councilmembers will be elected. Ultimately, the City Council chooses whether to transition to district elections and, if so, where the district lines will be drawn.

During the process, the public will have the opportunity to draw and
submit district maps for the City Council’s consideration, and the City may develop its own maps for consideration. The City Council must conduct at least four Public Hearings (two hearings before any maps are drawn, and at least two hearings after maps are drawn) to take public input on whether to transition to district elections, and if so, which districts map should be selected.  A fifth meeting is typically required to formally adopt the new district map by ordinance.

The first step is to hold two Public Hearings to invite public input regarding the composition of the City’s voting districts before any draft maps are drawn. After the City Council adopted a resolution setting out the process in early September, the first hearing occurred on September 21, 2021, and the second hearing on October 5, 2021.  At these two initial public hearings the City asked its residents what criteria should be used in developing and drafting the boundaries for the five divisions to be drawn at the end of this process and what the public would like to see in the composition of initial drafts.

It is the intent of
the first two Public Hearings to help identify the neighborhoods, or other communities of interest, and other local factors that should be considered or used when drawing draft voting division maps. The public is welcome to propose division maps, but this is not required, and the City did not prepare actual divisions maps for consideration at those hearings. Before holding subsequent hearings, the City anticipates providing mapping tools to assist the public with this process.

After providing the community with an opportunity to submit proposed maps, the City Council must then hold at least two additional Public Hearings on proposed maps drawn by the public, staff, and/or the City Council. The maps must be publicly available for at least seven days before the Public Hearing, and if a change is made to the map after the Public Hearing, the revised map must be available at least seven days before the districts are adopted. At the conclusion of the final Public Hearing, the City Council will introduce an ordinance establishing a map with the voting division boundaries, which may then be approved at a fifth meeting. Thereafter, the division-based elections will be implemented, commencing with the 2022 election cycle. The ordinance will also state when each division is up for election.