A bill that would force larger cities in California, including Santa Clarita, to use voting districts to elect council members is continuing to move through the state Assembly and has already passed further than a similar proposal did last year. Assembly Bill 278, introduced by Assemblyman Roger Hernandez, D-West Covina, recently passed the Appropriations Committee — the same committee where a similar bill died last year. AB 278 would require any general law city with a population of 100,000 or more to move to district-based elections, in which residents in specific areas would elect a single council member to represent their areas, rather than having a voice in every council member up for election. Santa Clarita has about 213,000 residents.
… Santa Clarita City Council members have traditionally been elected at large, meaning anyone registered to vote in the city would have a voice in selecting any council candidate.
In 2013, the city was sued by plaintiffs who claimed the use of at-large voting violated the California Voting Rights Act by preventing Latino residents from being able to elect candidates of their choice.
As part of a settlement of that lawsuit, the city agreed to move to cumulative voting — a form of at-large balloting in which it is possible to vote multiple times for the same candidate.