Anaheim targets 2014 ballot for any voting changes

Anaheim Leaders

Bear Guerra/KPCC

Anaheim resident, Rabiya Shakil (center), 20, stands with other community members during a July 31, 2012 press conference calling for city leaders to address a lack of Latino and minority representation in City Hall.

The City of Anaheim, under fire for its at-large voting system, is creating a committee to study whether to change that system.

The city wants people to apply to be on a Citizen Advisory Committee in order to "promote the full participation of all residents, neighborhoods, community groups and ethnic groups in studying the City’s electoral system."

But any changes would not be voted on until June 2014.

In the meantime, a lawsuit challenging the fairness of the at-large system will be making its way through the courts, barring a settlement. The lawsuit, brought against the city by the ACLU and Los Amigos of Orange County, claims the at-large system does not provide fair representation for Anaheim's 350,000 residents, 53 percent of which are Latino.

Four of the current city council members live in the same Anaheim neighborhood.

A news release from the city late Friday said the committee will provide advice to the City Council on promoting the full participation of all voters in city elections, including recommendations on:
 
·         Potential changes in the City’s election systems, including election by district;
·         How to encourage voter registration;
·         How to identify and engage community groups in elections and in local government decision making;
·         Language assistance programs; and
·         Other techniques to promote full participation in the electoral process.
 
"The Committee will report back with recommendations to the City Council in time for any proposed changes to the city's governance structure to be considered and placed on the June 2014 primary ballot, so that they may take effect by the next general election in November 2014," states the release on the city's website. "This process will not necessitate the time or cost of a special Election in 2013 to ensure that any proposed changes are in place by the next general election in Anaheim if so desired by the electorate of Anaheim."
 
Applications for membership on the committee will be available beginning Tuesday, Aug. 14 online at www.anaheim.net, or at the City Clerk’s office at Anaheim City Hall (200 S. Anaheim Blvd.).  The City Clerk’s office is open Monday – Friday, 8 a.m. – 5 p.m.  City Hall will be closed in observance of Labor Day on Monday, Sept. 3.   Applications may be submitted online and must be received by the City Clerk’s office no later than close of business on Tuesday, Sept. 11. 

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