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City of Orange November Special Election Cancelled as Part of Settlement Agreement Related to Voting Rights Case

From city of Orange

As part of a settlement reached with Plaintiffs Southwest Voter Registration Education Project (SVREP) and Luis Ortiz-Franco, the special at-large election originally scheduled for November 5, 2019 to fill a vacant City Council seat has been cancelled.

In February 2019, the Plaintiffs sued the City of Orange, alleging that the current at-large system for electing five Council Members was a violation of California Voting Rights Act (CVRA.) In their complaint, the Plaintiffs requested that the City hold no further at-large elections. The City agreed to this provision because of the significant challenges to the city, voters, and candidates of holding a special at-large election in advance of moving to by-district elections.

The City has also agreed to the following as part of the settlement:
• The City will move to by-district elections starting with the general election in November 2020.
• The City will have six voting districts. The City Council will consist of six Council Members, one for each district, as well as a Mayor directly elected at-large by the voters every two years.
• All currently serving incumbents will complete their current terms.

The cancelled special election was called to fill the council seat vacated by Mark A. Murphy upon his election as Mayor in November 2018. A candidate elected to fill that vacancy in November 2019 would have completed the unfilled term ending in November 2020. According to the settlement, four district seats (two existing council positions and two new council positions) will be filled in by-district elections in November 2020 General Municipal Election.

In April 2019, the City Council initiated the transition to district-based elections. A critical component of that process is establishing district boundaries. The City Council will receive a report on the two districting community meetings that were held in June at the Regular Council meeting on July 23. For more information on the districting process, including tools to help you participate, visit www.cityoforange.org/CivicAlerts.aspx?AID=346

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