Sunnyvale City Council Election System Changes

Sunnyvale City Council Election System Changes

In 2019, the City of Sunnyvale will be exploring changing to a "district-based" electoral system for selecting City council members. By City Charter, Sunnyvale currently has "at-large" elections for seven numbered seats that represent the entire city (as opposed to seats that represent defined geographic districts). Cities and other local agencies with similar at-large election systems have increasingly been targets for litigation under the California Voting Rights Act (CVRA), which prohibits voting practices that dilute the votes of racial minorities.

In September 2018, the City Council began a discussion about whether to proactively address CVRA concerns by submitting a Charter amendment  to Sunnyvale voters to change the electoral system to district-based voting, the method preferred by the CVRA. Recognizing that this change would fundamentally impact local governance and alter the process by which City voters have elected their representatives for decades, the City is implementing an outreach process that will educate residents and seek community input on this complex issue.  You can get more information on this, find dates and locations of meetings..., at the following city sites:

For more information on this and other related activities, see the following two City SItes:

(most of the above wording was copied from these)

The city wants to have a public vote on this issue in 2020, but it takes time to work out the specific details for the ballot choices to be presented (like the district maps).  Consequently, it appears the alternatives presented on the ballot, will mostly be settled before fall 2019.

If you want to influence the ballot measure content, the time is NOW to make your opinions known to the city.  The city site pages above have information on how to forward your comments to the city and/or participate in their survey ( ).

An independent group has also come up with another type of system and compares it to the current ones being discussed in this paper.  There is a meeting on this topic on Sunday, May 12 , 11am-noon .   If you missed this, you can find the slides used here.  They are also doing their own survey (see the paper).  If you are interested in voicing a preference and making it known to the Sunnyvale City Council, this group recommends you read their paper, complete  their survey, and/or come to their meeting.  Democracy is not a spectator sport!

The result of most of the above mentioned efforts is a plan that is described in Sunnyvale Ballot Measure B in the March 3, 2020 Primary Election.

The League of Women Voters and the CIty of Sunnyvale heald a Forum on this on February 13.  Here is a link to the Recording of this Forum.