The city of Palm Springs is switching from at large elections, which means that all voters elect all members, to district elections, where voters can only elect representatives within their district. Proponents of this district elections say it is a way to improve representation of minorities in local politics.
Palm Springs City council member Geoff Kors has been part of this electoral transition. He said the goal was “to comply with the California Voting Rights Act (CVRA), which is designed to make sure that minority communities have a greater voice in electing their representatives.”
In Palm Springs 25% of the population is Latino, but there are no Latino city council members.
One of our goals is can we draw maps where the majorities will be minorities,” Kors said. “Where Latinos and other minorities impacting the elections.”
The city is still working with the community to find the best way to map each district. the council is still debating on the number of districts – either four or five – contingent upon an at-large or rotating mayor.
According to Palm Springs city clerk Anthony Mejia, “each of the districts will need to have an approximate population of 9,000 or 11,000 depending on whether it’s four districts or five.”
The city council encourages the public to send in their mapping proposals prior to September 15th. After that, city council will hold a couple of hearings and will select a map by the end of the year. Palm Springs residents can find more information mapping their districts here.
The first effects of the mapping will be visible in the 2019 and 2021 elections, once a couple city council member seats are up.