SUNNYVALE (CBS SF) — Voters in Sunnyvale appeared poised Tuesday to permanently change their city charter to formally move from at-large voting systems to district-based systems, while voters in Santa Clara appeared to reject a similar ballot measure.

Sunnyvale’s Measure B and Santa Clara’s Measure C would move the two cities to district-based systems, doing away with the citywide at-large systems the two had used to elect local officials in the past.

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Early results showed 61.96 percent of Sunnyvale voters in favor of Measure B and 59.28 percent in Santa Clara voting in opposition to Measure C. Measure B would amend Sunnyvale’s city charter to add the district-based election system, something the city has considered since 2018.

The city would be split into six districts, with elections for odd and even numbered districts alternating every two years. Measure C would have essentially codified the result of a 2018
lawsuit against the city of Santa Clara, in which the plaintiffs argued that the city’s at-large voting system was keeping people of color, and Asian Americans specifically, from holding local office.

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According to the Asian Law Alliance, which supported the case’s plaintiffs, an Asian American had never served on the Santa Clara City Council despite Asian Americans comprising a majority of the city’s population.

The ballot measure would have amended the city charter to keep the city’s current six-district system for the November election. Beginning in 2022, the city would have moved to three districts, with voters choosing two council members from each district.

The measure’s opponents argued that the six-district system achieved its intended result of a diverse City Council and moving to three districts would be a needless change.

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