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Voting Rights

LEAD Filipino fights to maintain the integrity of local and state elections.

Our past work around Voter Rights includes organizing around the 2018 local No on Measure A campaign in the City of Santa Clara.

On Friday, April 20, 2018, LEAD Filipino voted to join a chorus of other grassroots groups, nonprofit agencies and community organizations in a stand against the City of Santa Clara’s Measure A, which will be hitting the ballots on June 5th, 2018. (Absentee ballots will begin being sent out on May 12th.)

Why do we care about this issue?

We approached our position on the basis of ensuring minority representation in local government, politics and decision-making.

In the City of Santa Clara’s 160+ year history of incorporation, they’ve ran an At-Large Election System that, in principle, conveys the simple message that City Council candidates run – and are elected – to represent the needs and interests of the entire city.

For a city with a total population size of ~120,000, in practice, the At-Large Election System has continued to dilute the minority vote in the City of Santa Clara. We’ve seen that the minority population in the city is over 40%, but despite this number, the City of Santa Clara, in its 160 year history, has yet to see a person of color successfully elected to its City Council. The implementation of At-Large Elections while diminishing the minority vote is in violation with the California Voting Rights Act (2001), which was the basis for the City of Santa Clara’s current lawsuit (they were sued) and their response to address this violation.

What would Measure A do and why are we opposed?

Measure A proposes a switch to District Elections. If it passes, bye bye At-Large Elections.

Measure A proposes “cutting”the City of Santa Clara into two electoral districts (about 60,000 voters per district, representing 50/50 of population).

Under this model, each district would elect three councilmembers to represent them on the Santa Clara City Council. To determine the winners in this “3 x 2 model”, the City of Santa Clara further proposes – through Measure A – to implement a Ranked Choice Voting System, with a Single-Transferable Vote (STV), a form of Proportional Representation.

We’re opposed to this proposal because the lines that the City of Santa Clara’s Districting Committee recommended would divide the minority vote.

Additionally, we believe more analysis needs to be done with regard to budgetary impacts on implementing a new election system in the County, case studies on correlations to increased minority representation in urban areas under an STV System, and frankly, explaining Ranked Choice Voting with an STV is challenging for even the electoral pundits among us.

Challenge: Explain Ranked Choice Voting in under 3 minutes.  🙂

Press and Media on Measure A:

General Information About Measure A:

Arguments Around Measure A: