GET INVOLVED!! On April 12th, 2016 for the first time in history Whittier will elect its city council members by districts. City residents who live in District 1 have never had a representative on the City Council. Find out how YOU can make a difference in District 1 by clicking HERE
If you want general information on District Elections in April 2016 click HERE
Voters Registration Fiesta
held on Saturday August 8th
The Whittier Voters Coalition hosted a Voters Registration Fiesta on Saturday, August 8th. The community was invited to celebrate the victory of District Elections in Whittier and learn how to increase voter turnout. The Whittier Daily News was there and published an article on the event. Read the article by clicking here
City of Whittier Selects District Map for April 2016
On June 3, 2014 Whittier voters approved a Charter Amendment calling for four Council Members elected from geographically defined districts. A citywide mayor position was also established. When district based voting became the law in Whittier the City Council was tasked with forming four city council districts by the next election cycle in April 2016.
The Whittier City Council selected district map PS_014 at the Public Hearing held on April 20th. This was despite overwhelming public support for PS_009 at the community meetings held in March and at the public hearing . The Whittier Voters Coalition is disappointed at the City Council's lack of fairness and failure to select a map that lives up to the intent and spirit of the Voting Rights Act.
On Tuesday, May 26th the Whittier City Council formally adopted PS_014 into the record. It also re-identified the districts into a numerical format. Districts 1 and 3 will go on the April 2016 ballot and Districts 2 and 4 will go on the ballot in 2018 . To view the map and the Agenda Report click on the following link: Agenda Report
To find out what district you live in click on the following link: What is my District?
For more information on the process of district formation from the City click here
Judge Dismisses Lawsuit!
Meanwhile, the Whittier Voters Coalition Gets Ready for New Hybrid District/At-Large Voting System
On September 11, 2014, the public received the disappointing news that Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Michael Johnson had dismissed the Voting Rights lawsuit. According to the Whittier Daily News's reporting, the judge decided that because the passage of Measure W would create 4 district City Council seats, leaving only the Mayor elected at-large, the lawsuit was no longer necessary.
But, on September 15, the lawyers for the plaintiffs filed an appeal to continue the lawsuit. The WDN's article about the appeal quotes lawyer Felix woo as saying, "the current system (four district council seats, one at-large mayor) is still considered an at-large voting scheme under the law." Furthermore, Measure W does not address moving the city elections from the low-turnout month of April to the high-turnout month of November of even numbered years.
Although there is some disagreement among the members of the Whittier Voters Coalition about whether or not to be involved in the City's process of creating districts for the upcoming April 2016 city elections, the Coalition has decided to educate itself about the compromise district process in the hopes that districts might still be drawn with input from the many people in the city.
Stay tuned to www.WhittierVotersCoalition.com for updates on the City's efforts to create districts for 4 of the 5 city council seats. Also stay tuned for updates on the appeal, with a final decision expected in summer of 2015.
Measure W and Palmdale Voting Rights Success Motivate an Update to Whittier Lawsuit
Following the recent passage of Measure W and the recent court decisions in favor of voting rights in the city of Palmdale, the plaintiffs in the lawsuit against the city of Whittier have filed an amendment to their written complaint.
You can download and read the amendment, filed on June 23, 2014, here. Pages 21 and 22 of the amended complaint summarizes what the plaintiffs are seeking for the community at the eventual trial on March 19, 2015.
Although Measure W, which voters approved on June 3, 2014, would adopt the concept of districts, it creates only four Council districts instead of the present five, and it provides for a Mayor elected at large. Additionally, Measure W does not address the issue of moving elections to November.
Also and quite importantly Measure W gives the final say to the incumbent city council members for the drawing of district boundaries. Historically, gerrymandering occurs when incumbents decide the geographical lines for elections.
Meanwhile, the recent ruling in Jauregui v. City of Palmdale gives an example of how the court can provide relief under the California Voting Rights Act. In the Palmdale case, the court ruled that the at-large system of city council elections was illegally diluting the voting power of Latino residents and African Americans. Furthermore, the court ruled that, because the current Palmdale City Council had been elected in unlawful elections, the council members should be removed from office and replaced with council members elected through a district-based election system.
Therefore, the amended complaint in Whittier clarifies that Measure W does not provide sufficient relief and calls for removal of Whittier City Council members elected under the unlawful at-large system, as was decided in the Palmdale case.
You can also read the Whittier Daily News' coverage of the amended complaint.
Judge Michael M. Johnson will consider the amendment at a hearing on Sept 5, 2014 at 8:30 AM at the Los Angeles County Superior Court House, 111 North Hill Street, Department 56.
In the summer of 2013, three Whittier residents sued the city for violations of the California Voting Rights Act. These residents demanded, among other things, a change from the "at-large" system of elections--in which many of the city council members came from the same neighborhood--to a "district" system of elections--in which each neighborhood in the large, diverse city of Whittier could send someone from their own district to serve on the city council. Although Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Michael Johnson dismissed the case in September of 2014, an appeal has been filed and the struggle for voting rights continues both in and outside of the court.
Why we support reforms to the Whittier City Council:
Less than 20% of registered voters in Whittier actually vote in April city elections. In November elections more than 50% of registered voters show up to the polls. Moving elections to November would increase participation. In a city as large as Whittier, district based elections would increase neighborhood representation and reduce campaign costs. We believe these reforms would give an equal voice to the historically under represented citizens of Whittier.
Who we are:
Community based organizations have united to form the Whittier Voters Coalition to support Whittier City Council reforms. The Whittier Hills Oil Watch, the Whittier Area Peace and Justice Coalition the Mark Twain Democratic Club and Whittier Voice have united to support:
- The election of the Whittier City Council through a district based election system
- All future regularly held elections for the Whittier City Council shall coincide with national elections or general statewide elections held in November of even numbered years.
- Districts shall be drawn with input from the community.
We actively support the lawsuit filed by three City of Whittier residents who contend the City of Whittier is in violation of the California Voting Rights Act. We work together to make our cause known and reach out to other groups and individuals who share our vision of Whittier City Council reforms.
For more information:
Check out our Documents page to find:
- The written complaint filed against the City of Whittier by the three Whittier residents
- Text of the California Voting Rights Act
- A map showing the problem of low voter turnout in the city
- And more!
Register To Vote
If you live in California, you can now Register To Vote on-line. You should register to vote if you have never registered before or if you want to update your name or home address.
TIP: For convevniance, consider checking the box on your voter registration form to receive a vote-by-mail ballot before each election.
Check Your Registration Status
If you live in Los Angeles County and think you may already be registered, you can Check Your Voter Registration Status.
TIP: Even if you are already registered, you can choose to receive an absentee/vote-by-mail ballot by completing the form that arrives to your home with a sample ballot before each election, or just download the form here.