Corona is a diverse community of almost 160,000 people. The City encompasses about 39 square miles and is made up of several distinct areas and neighborhoods.
Historically, Corona’s City Council Members have been elected at-large, meaning that each is elected by all Corona voters and each can reside anywhere in the City. Now, a new measure, known as Measure N, will be on the November 8th ballot and it has the potential to change the way in which Corona elects its City Council Members. It would create five council electoral districts and would require the election by the residents of each of those districts of one Council Member who also resides in the same district. This is known as a “by-district” election process. A map of the proposed council electoral districts can be found here.
If Measure N is approved by voters in November, the City Council Members currently in office and those elected this November will continue in office until the expiration of their terms. Commencing with the election in November of 2018, the voters in District 1, District 4 and District 5 will elect their City Council Members by-district. In November of 2020, the voters in District 2 and District 3 will elect their City Council Members by-district.
If Measure N does not pass, the City will retain its “at-large” City Council electoral system. It is possible that the City could thereafter face a legal challenge under the state or Federal Voting Rights Acts to require a council district electoral system, but whether such a challenge would be successful depends upon many factors, some of which are unknown.
With the help of consultant Doug Johnson, President of the National Demographics Corporation, Corona has drawn the proposed council district boundary lines, making sure that each district has close to the same population and otherwise complies with federal and state law (e.g. no racial gerrymandering). The goals were also to have each district consist of contiguous territory in as compact a form as possible, to respect “communities of interest”, and to have district boundaries follow visible, natural and man-made geographical and topographical features as much as possible. To accomplish these goals, we used census information, voter registration and economic data and other criteria to draw sample maps and seek input from the community.
Overall, the City held five community forums and several public meetings with the City Council to gather community input, including three public hearings in June and July. Ultimately, on July 6, 2016 the City Council voted to adopt the proposed map and to place Measure N on the November ballot.
Your participation in the November 8, 2016 election and your vote on Measure N will help determine how Corona’s City Council members are elected in the future.