Zone-Based Election System

Background

The Alameda County Water District Board of Directors has begun the process to transition from at-large to zone-based elections. The District currently has an at-large elections system, which means voters of the entire District elect the five Board members. A zone-based election is one in which the District is divided into separate districts, each with one Board member who resides in the zone and is chosen by the voters in that particular zone.   The District strongly encourages all public and community engagement in this initiative.  

The District received a letter from a law firm alleging that the District’s current at-large elections violate the California Voting Rights Act (CVRA) (Elections Code §§ 14025-14032).  Though the District does not agree with these allegations, in order to ensure that the Board most effectively represents all interests of its residents, on August 12, 2021, the Board adopted a resolution of intention to move from at-large to zone-based elections.  It is the District’s intention through this process to establish five zones which are compliant with all voting laws and best practices. Further, it is the District’s intention to establish the zones and have them in place by the next Board election which takes place in November 2022.  Following the current staggered terms of the members of the Board, this would result in two members of the Board being elected by the new zones in November 2022, and the remaining three seats being elected by the remaining three new zones in November 2024.

Process & Next Steps

Community input and 2020 census data will be used to determine how zones should be drawn.   To assist with the transition, the District hired Lapkoff & Gobalet Demographic Research, Inc., a firm that specializes in drawing election district boundaries for jurisdictions, also known as “districting”.

Many factors may be considered in developing the zones and draft maps.  Population equality is of primary importance, followed by the  Federal Voting Rights Act’s prohibition of voting practices and procedures that discriminate on the basis of race, color or membership in a language minority group. Additionally, other factors include:

  • Topography: natural barriers, boundaries or landmarks
  • Geography: major streets and neighborhood blocks
  • Cohesiveness: contiguity, integrity and compactness of the area
  • Communities of Interest: established neighborhoods, racial and social demographics, groups with cultural bonds, common issues or concerns, voting precincts and other types of divisions.

There will be two phases of public engagement:

Phase 1: Community Input

Prior to any official draft maps being drawn, the public is encouraged to share input to help define local communities of interest and other impacts that should be considered in the zone development.

Two public hearings will be held to review the districting process and gather community input. 

Phase 2: District Mapping

2020 Census data and community input will be used to develop draft maps. Two public hearings will be held to collect input and review of the draft maps and sequence of elections. The Board will consider adoption of a final district map creating five zones during a fifth public hearing.  The District will publish and make available to the public the draft maps at least seven days before each public hearing, in this phase. 

Aerial of service area

Get Involved

We will continue to provide timely updates on this web page as the process continues. 

To provide input to the Board on this process, you may attend the public hearings. You may also provide input via email to Jennifer Solito.

Submit written comments via mail to: ACWD P.O. Box 5110 Fremont, CA 94537.

Documents

Documents associated with each public hearing will be updated as they become available.

Background Documents

August 12, 2021 – Resolution of Intention

Public Hearing #1 – October 14, 2021

Staff Report - documents to be updated once available

Staff Presentation - documents to be updated once available

Public Hearing Schedule

The first two public hearings have been scheduled and are as follows:

Public Hearing #1 - October 14, 2021 at 8:00pm

Public Hearing #2 - October 28, 2021 at 4:00pm

These two public hearings will take place virtually and members of the public may participate in these meetings via webinar:

https://us02web.zoom.us/j/83359856504?pwd=ZkxPUGVHWmVNTi8raFc2UlJGY3kzZz09

(PASSCODE: 438204),

Or by calling any of the following phone numbers:

1-669-900-9128 or 1-346-248-779 or 1-301-715-8592: followed by 833 5985 6504.

The remaining three public hearings will be scheduled in the future and this page will be updated accordingly.