Orange County judge postpones ruling on Anaheim's at-large voting system

An Anaheim City Council meeting in August 2012.
An Anaheim City Council meeting in August 2012.
Bear Guerra/KPCC

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Anaheim will have to wait a bit longer to know if a judge thinks it is violating the California Voting Rights ActA judge on Tuesday once again put off ruling on how the city elects its council.

Orange County Superior Court Judge Franz Miller said he wanted to wait until the end of the month to allow Anaheim to finalize its plan to move forward with a new “hybrid” voting system. Then, he’ll decide on the ACLU’s allegation that the city is violating the law.
ACLU staff attorney Bardis Vakili wanted the judge to rule right away since the city council has already approved the new system twice.
“We tried to convince him otherwise," said Vakili. "But he decided to wait to have a concrete issue he could rule on.”
The ACLU and others, including Anaheim’s mayor, have called for the city to enact district voting, which many other California cities use. 
Led by councilwoman Kris Murray, the city council decided in a 3-2 vote that future councils should still be elected by the whole city, though they would have to live in the districts they serve. Murray said she was grateful to the judge for allowing the city to proceed on its own, at least for now.

“I’m not presumptuous about a victory for the city, but I do believe the system we put in place is an important step to providing access for all our communities in Anaheim,” said Murray.
Voters will have the final say about changing the way the City Council is elected next spring, if Judge Miller doesn’t intervene beforehand.