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Election System

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CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
October 22, 2013 | By Jean Merl
On the heels of a letter accusing it of violating the California Voting Rights Act, the board of the Coachella Valley Water District on Tuesday took a tentative step toward changing its election system, a spokeswoman said. Advised  by its attorney that changes to the way it elects its directors may require voter approval, the board discussed the possibility of putting a measure before voters in the June 2014 California primary, according to district spokeswoman Heather Engle. The board will take up the possible election matter at its Nov. 12 meeting, Engel said.
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WORLD
March 30, 2014 | By Kim Willsher
PARIS -- Voters in Paris elected their first female mayor on Sunday as Socialist candidate Anne Hidalgo won the keys to City Hall after a closely fought campaign. Hidalgo's victory was one of the day's rare successes for French President Francois Hollande's Socialist Party, which lost ground in municipal elections around the country. The Spanish-born Hidalgo, 54, who defeated her rival in a tight second-round vote, will take over City Hall from her mentor, popular Mayor Bertrand Delanoe, who has run the French capital since 2001.
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CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
May 14, 2012 | By Jean Merl, Los Angeles Times
In the first broad test of California's new "top-two" election system, many candidates in heated races for Congress and the state Legislature have been campaigning earlier, spending more money and downplaying their party affiliation as they try to widen their appeal. Gone are the party primaries, except in the presidential race. Now all state candidates appear on a single ballot. Only those who come in first or second on June 5 will move on to the November general election, in which no write-in or other added candidates will be allowed.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
January 8, 2014 | By Paloma Esquivel
For nearly two years, fierce debate over whether Anaheim should change its election system from at-large to districts has roiled the resort city, leading to raucous meetings and angry protests outside City Hall. On Tuesday, the city announced that it would put the issue to a vote in November. "This is about something very simple, letting the people vote," said Mayor Tom Tait, who supports creating council districts. Anaheim is the largest city in California that still retains at-large voting to select local representatives, a system that some contend has left Latinos politically powerless in a city where they now make up a majority.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
June 3, 2012 | By Phil Willon, Los Angeles Times
California's new "top-two" primary election will be put to its first widespread test Tuesday, when state voters will be free to select candidates for Congress and the statehouse regardless of political party. The new primary sends the two candidates who receive the most votes to November's general election, opening the door for independent candidates and same-party slugfests. In past years, incumbents enjoyed a firm advantage. But Tuesday's election will have one of the largest batches of competitive races in decades for the Legislature and Congress.
NATIONAL
November 4, 2004 | Ralph Vartabedian, Times Staff Writer
Though the nation's election system avoided a meltdown in the presidential race, experts said Wednesday that it still needs to be closely examined for the way it handled the high voter turnout and myriad other strains and irregularities. Federal officials, local agencies and independent watchdogs said a wide range of problems needed to be examined.
NATIONAL
July 28, 2008 | P.J. Huffstutter, Times Staff Writer
When Sean Tevis decided to run for a seat in the Kansas Legislature, he faced a serious problem: money. Local political advisors warned the campaign novice that he would need a war chest of at least $26,000 to compete against his entrenched Republican rival. It seemed like a fortune to the 39-year-old Democrat.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
January 8, 2014 | By Paloma Esquivel
For nearly two years, fierce debate over whether Anaheim should change its election system from at-large to districts has roiled the resort city, leading to raucous meetings and angry protests outside City Hall. On Tuesday, the city announced that it would put the issue to a vote in November. "This is about something very simple, letting the people vote," said Mayor Tom Tait, who supports creating council districts. Anaheim is the largest city in California that still retains at-large voting to select local representatives, a system that some contend has left Latinos politically powerless in a city where they now make up a majority.
WORLD
March 21, 2005 | Halima Kazem, Special to The Times
Afghans will go to the polls Sept. 18 to elect their parliament under a system that some experts say could make it difficult for President Hamid Karzai to govern this war-torn nation. Bismillah Bismil, head of the joint Afghan and United Nations election commission, said Sunday that the election date had been set after consultations with U.N. officials, representatives of political parties and Karzai's administration. Last week, U.S.
OPINION
December 29, 2013 | By The Times editorial board
In the 11 years since the California Voting Rights Act was passed, no municipality whose at-large election system was challenged has ever won its case. Almost all have settled before going to trial, in most cases agreeing to switch to voting by geographic districts. It's not a perfect solution to the problems caused by at-large voting - critics complain that establishing legislative districts in city council races can Balkanize a city - but it is the best remedy available. The problem with at-large systems is that they often dilute the voting power of minority groups, whose preferred candidates might be able to win if they ran in their own neighborhoods but who find it impossible to win over an absolute majority of voters citywide.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
January 7, 2014 | By Paloma Esquivel
The city of Anaheim will ask voters to decide in November whether to create electoral districts in order to settle a voting rights lawsuit that claimed Latinos were politically disadvantaged in the city's at-large elections. The suit was filed by the American Civil Liberties Union in 2012 on behalf of three residents who accused the city of violating the California Voting Rights Act. It came at a time when turbulent protests over the police shootings of two Latino men had roiled the city and exposed deep divisions between the city's affluent communities and its less-prosperous Latino neighborhoods.
OPINION
December 29, 2013 | By The Times editorial board
In the 11 years since the California Voting Rights Act was passed, no municipality whose at-large election system was challenged has ever won its case. Almost all have settled before going to trial, in most cases agreeing to switch to voting by geographic districts. It's not a perfect solution to the problems caused by at-large voting - critics complain that establishing legislative districts in city council races can Balkanize a city - but it is the best remedy available. The problem with at-large systems is that they often dilute the voting power of minority groups, whose preferred candidates might be able to win if they ran in their own neighborhoods but who find it impossible to win over an absolute majority of voters citywide.
OPINION
December 17, 2013
Re "A political game of musical chairs," Dec. 13 Jessica A. Levinson does a good job of explaining how term limits exacerbate the cynical and costly practice of office-jumping by elected officials. If only there was something better than term limits. Well, there could be. I suggest we replace term limits with a system in which an officeholder can run for a third term, but he or she would have to win with at least 55% of the vote. For a fourth term, the threshold would be 60%. What this could achieve, besides giving these office hogs less reason to engage in musical chairs, is an opportunity to keep someone in office if the constituents want it. California is a laboratory for many new ideas and innovations.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
December 5, 2013 | By Paloma Esquivel and Adolfo Flores
The city of Anaheim is in talks to settle a lawsuit filed by the ACLU accusing the city's election system of violating the state's Voting Rights Act. The case is set to go to trial in March but key hearings and depositions have been delayed because the parties appear to be moving toward a deal, according to court records and a plaintiff. “For me, certainly, any settlement talks are about the city agreeing toward the direction of establishing districts, authentic districts, where the representatives are voted for by the residents of those districts,” said plaintiff Jose Moreno.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
December 2, 2013 | By Jean Merl
A Los Angeles County Superior court judge, who earlier this year found the city of Palmdale to be in violation of the California Voting Rights Act, has ordered the city to hold  a new, by-district election for its four City Council posts. In a ruling dated last week and received by the parties over the weekend, Judge Mark V. Mooney ordered that the special election, to replace the balloting for council seats held last month, is to be conducted June 3, the same day as the California primary.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
December 2, 2013 | By Jean Merl
A Los Angeles County Superior Court judge, who earlier this year found the city of Palmdale to be in violation of the California Voting Rights Act, has ordered the city to hold a new by-district election for its four City Council posts. In a ruling dated last week and received by the involved parties over the weekend, Judge Mark V. Mooney ordered that the special election, to replace the balloting for council seats held last month, is to be conducted June 3, the same day as the California primary.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
July 30, 2013 | By Paloma Esquivel
The legal case over whether Anaheim's election system denies Latinos fair political participation has been ordered to go to trial. The case had been put on hold while the Anaheim City Council voted on changes to the city's at-large election system. Anaheim is one of the largest cities in California that does not have council districts. The ACLU filed the case alleging violations of the state's Voting Rights Act last year on behalf of three Anaheim residents. At the time, Anaheim had an at-large election system, in which all voters choose council members.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
December 2, 2013 | By Jean Merl
A Los Angeles County Superior Court judge, who earlier this year found the city of Palmdale to be in violation of the California Voting Rights Act, has ordered the city to hold a new by-district election for its four City Council posts. In a ruling dated last week and received by the involved parties over the weekend, Judge Mark V. Mooney ordered that the special election, to replace the balloting for council seats held last month, is to be conducted June 3, the same day as the California primary.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
November 20, 2013 | By Jean Merl
The ABC Unified School District in Cerritos has become the latest jurisdiction to switch election systems in the face of lawsuits alleging violations of the California Voting Rights Act. The district's board voted Tuesday to settle a lawsuit brought against it and to implement a new election system. The settlement was announced Wednesday in separate news releases by the district and the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund, or MALDEF, which brought the suit on behalf of Latino residents.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
November 12, 2013 | By Jean Merl
Facing a possible lawsuit over the way it chooses its directors, the board of the Coachella Valley Water District voted Tuesday to drop its at-large elections system. From now on, directors will be elected by geographic district.  The change comes less than a month after attorneys warned  in a letter that  the jurisdiction's at-large elections were likely in violation of the California Voting Rights Act. "The letter raised some serious issues that warranted a thorough evaluation," board President John Powell Jr. said in a statement issued after Tuesday's vote.  "I don't want any of the district's constituents to feel like they aren't fairly represented, so I wholeheartedly support the change," Powell added.
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