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California Voting Rights Act Letter To Be Discussed By Santa Clarita City Council 

The Santa Clarita City Council is expected to discuss a California Voting Rights Act letter during a special meeting Tuesday, officials said. 

On Feb. 4, the Santa Clarita City Clerk’s Office received a letter from Attorney Scott Rafferty on behalf of Neighborhood Elections Now, “a group including Santa Clarita voters of a variety of races and ethnicities,” to abolish the at-large election system in favor of districts, according to City Hall documents.

“We give notice of our belief, supported by evidence, that Latino electors within the city have different electoral preferences than those who are not Latino, as demonstrated in the returns for ballot questions and contests for office,” the letter reads. “Therefore, the use of at-large voting dilutes the electoral influence of Latinos as a community, which violates the California Voting Rights Act.”

City officials are evaluating the letter and were unable to comment on the potential impacts as of this week. 

“As this letter is a statutorily required precursor to filing litigation under the California Voting Rights Act, the City has no further comment on the letter at this time,” said Carrie Lujan, spokesperson for the City of Santa Clarita. 

See Related: Voting Rights Expert Looks At Conditions For A CVRA Violation

The California Voting Rights Act was signed into law in 2002 with the intention to make it easier for minority groups in California to prove that their votes are being diluted in at-large elections, according to the legislation. 

“The illegal at-large system has entrenched incumbents who were elected 20 years ago, when Santa Clarita was 80 percent white and only 20 percent Latino,” the letter reads.

Annexation and migration have not only increased the Latino population. From 2007 to 2015, the numbers of Asians and African Americans in Santa Clarita also doubled, according to the document. 

“Although whites are a minority of the city’s total population, this group still constitutes 57 percent of the city’s eligible voters. Winner-take-all allows bloc voting by whites to continue the group’s control of the entire council,” the letter reads. “Furthermore, none of the current incumbents has won a majority of the ballots cast. The result is ruled by an entrenched minority.”

This is the second CVRA threat to Santa Clarita. In 2016, the City settled the case Soliz and Sanchez-Fraser v. Santa Clarita for $600,000.

The previous case also resulted in the City Council’s elections being held in November, along with the presidential election, instead of in April. 

Read the full letter to the City of Santa Clarita in the agenda packet here.

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California Voting Rights Act Letter To Be Discussed By Santa Clarita City Council 

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About Devon Miller

Devon Miller was born and raised in Santa Clarita. He joined KHTS Radio as a digital marketing intern in September of 2017, and later moved to news as a staff writer in December. Miller attended College of the Canyons and served as the Associated Student Government President. Miller is now News Director for KHTS, covering breaking news and politics across the Santa Clarita Valley.