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Sunnyvale begins exploration of switch to district-based elections

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Sunnyvale will host two open house meetings in the coming weeks as the city considers changing its at-large election system to a district-based system, following a move by several neighboring cities to prevent lawsuits over minority voting rights.

Santa Clara held its first district-based election in November after losing an appeal in federal court to protect its at-large voting system for City Council elections.

The Asian Law Alliance and others argued that about 20 percent of the city’s population was Asian-American, yet none had been elected to the City Council since the city was founded more than 65 years ago. San Jose, Santa Clara, Menlo Park, Fremont, Martinez and Concord are among the Bay Area cities that have switched to district-based voting, in addition to others throughout California. The Sunnyvale City Council voted last year to consider the change and begin outreach.

Mayor Larry Klein said in a news release:

“The Council wants to ensure that any changes to our council electoral system are driven by input from Sunnyvale residents.”

The first meeting will be held Feb. 6 at 6 p.m. at the Sunnyvale Community Center at 550 E. Remington Drive followed by a meeting Feb. 9 at 9:30 a.m. at Columbia Middle School at 739 Morse Ave.

Translation services will be available in Mandarin, Spanish and Hindi, and refreshments will be provided at the open houses.

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