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June 7, 2016 — California Primary Election
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City of San Diego
Proposition A Charter Amendment - Majority Approval Required

To learn more about measures, follow the links for each tab in this section. For most screenreaders, you can hit Return or Enter to enter a tab and read the content within.

Election Results


198,064 votes yes (71.93%)

77,306 votes no (28.07%)

Shall the City Charter be amended to update the process related to redistricting of City Council districts, including amendments to expand the citizen Redistricting Commission from seven to nine members, to clarify and expand the timeline for the appointment and qualification of members, to provide for alternate members on the Commission and appointing panel, and to explain the effective date of boundaries?

What is this proposal?

Measure Details — Official information about this measure


San Diego County Registrar of Voters

This proposition would amend the San Diego Charter to update the process related to the redistricting of City Council districts, including amendments to expand the citizen Redistricting Commission from seven to nine members, to clarify and expand the timeline for the appointment and qualification of members, to provide for alternate members on the Commission and the appointing panel, and to explain the effective date of boundaries. 

Impartial analysis / Proposal

City Attorney

Redistricting is the process of drawing geographical boundaries for political districts. The San Diego City Council is divided into nine districts. Boundaries are reviewed and adjusted, as necessary, every 10 years after the U.S. Census to account for changes in the population and to meet constitutional requirements. The way lines are drawn to group voters into districts can affect a district’s representation and political influence.

Council districts are drawn by an independent citizens’ Redistricting Commission, a committee of volunteers appointed and operating as provided by the City Charter. The Commission draws district boundary lines by considering criteria in local, state and federal redistricting laws. For example, each district must include as equal population as is practicable. Existing communities of interest are to be preserved, and districts are to be contiguous and compact. The federal Voting Rights Act requires that redistricting plans cannot discriminate on the basis of race or language minority group. Redistricting plans must provide fair and effective representation for all citizens.

In 1992, San Diego voters approved Charter amendments establishing an independent Redistricting Commission to draw district boundaries. The proposed Charter amendments seek to update this local law based on experiences of the 2000 and 2010 Commissions.

An Appointing Authority selects the Commissioners. If approved, Charter amendments would clarify that the Appointing Authority will consist of “a panel of three retired judges who served in any of the following courts: the Superior Court of the State of California, an appellate court of the State of California or a U.S. District Court located within California.” This amendment would expand the pool of retired judges eligible to serve. Amendments provide for the random selection of an alternate retired judge if necessary.

Amendments remove language that allowed the City Council to appoint the Commission as a last resort, eliminating the possibility of a Councilmember’s conflict of interest. Amendments provide that the City Clerk would appoint the panel if retired judges are unable or unwilling to serve. The Clerk would conduct a ministerial review of applications to ensure compliance with legal requirements, notify the qualified candidates and randomly select applicants in a public location.

If approved, amendments would increase the number of Redistricting Commissioners from seven to nine. The Appointing Authority would appoint one member from each Council district “to the extent practicable.” This is permissive, considering the extent of the applicant pool and an individual’s qualifications to serve. Amendments would state that Commissioners should possess working knowledge of the City’s geography and neighborhoods.

Amendments would provide for two alternate Commissioners, available to serve if a Commissioner cannot serve or resigns. Other amendments expand the application period from 30 days to 60 days, increase the number of required public hearings prior to the preparation of a preliminary plan, and explain the effective date of boundaries. 

Published Arguments — Arguments for and against the ballot measure

Arguments FOR

The City of San Diego has used an independent citizen Redistricting Commission for both its 2000 and 2010 City Council redistricting processes. In part of their final reports, both the 2000 and 2010 Commissions included recommendations for improving the process. Prop A contains these suggestions from the Commission as well as the recommendations from a 2012 San Diego County Grand Jury report to strengthen the redistricting process and bring it into compliance with federal law.

The suggested Charter changes will have these positive impacts:

  • Increases the number of Commission members from seven to nine to allow for the possibility of having a Commissioner from each of the nine Council Districts to support the Charter requirement for geographical diversity.
  • Establishes a process to ensure full representation on the Commission in the event that a Commissioner cannot complete his or her full term.
  • Allows for an alternate to serve on the three-member panel of retired judges who serve as the Appointing Authority to appoint the members of the Redistricting Commission. The alternate would prevent a two-member panel from making Commission appointments.
  • Expands the nomination period from thirty to sixty days and starts the process earlier in the year, enabling more potential Commissioners to apply.
  • Expands the required number of public hearings to increase public participation and encourage geographical diversity in meeting locations.
  • Clarifies language related to the timing of boundary adjustments following a redistricting of Council district boundaries, making the City’s Charter consistent with current federal law.

Your “yes” vote on Prop A will update the City’s redistricting process to meet current federal law and implement improvements suggested by previous Redistricting Commission participants and the Grand Jury.

Prop A has strong support from the City Council, League of Women Voters of San Diego, and the San Diego Regional Chamber of Commerce.

Sherri Lightner, City Council President - Jerry Sanders, President & CEO, San Diego Regional Chamber of Commerce - Chris Cate, City Councilmember - Marti Emerald, City Council President Pro Tem - Jeanne Brown, President, League of Women Voters of San Diego 

Arguments AGAINST

No argument against Proposition A was filed in the office of the City Clerk. 

More information

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