On March 10, 2022, Buellton’s City Council approved Ordinance No. 22-02, which outlines a transition from at-large to by-district elections, with the mayor to be elected at-large. The final map of City Council Districts can be viewed here.
With district-based elections, each of four council members will be elected by voters within that candidate’s district, while the mayor would be elected by all voters within the City. The City Council selected districts 1 and 4 to hold elections in November, 2022. Districts 2 and 3 will hold elections in November, 2024, along with the mayor-elect in general.
This decision came after significant community outreach, including website information, public participation kits, online mapping tools, newspaper advertising, public hearings, requested public comment, and social media posts.
Two draft maps to be considered at the fourth public hearing and first reading of the ordinance to establish District-Based Elections. Next public hearing scheduled for February 24, 2022.
Basic Paper Map (English)
Basic Paper Map (Spanish)
Paper Map to use with Excel Spreadsheet (English)
Paper Map to use with Excel Spreadsheet (Spanish)
Excel Spreadsheet (English)
Excel Spreadsheet (Spanish)
March 10, 2022 (Ordinance Second Reading)
Exhibit A - NDC Plan 203 and 204
Attachment 1 – January 27, 2022 Staff Report and Attachments
NDC PowerPoint for February 24, 2022
Power Point Public Hearing #3 Presentation
NDC Plan 201 Demographics
NDC Plan 201 Map
NDC Plan 202 Demographics
NDC Plan 202 Map
NDC Plan 203 Demographics
NDC Plan 203 Map
NDC Plan 204 Demographics
NDC Plan 204 Map
Public Plan 101 Demographics
Public Plan 101 Map
Public Plan 102 Demographics
Public Plan 102 Map
Public Plan 103 Demographics
Public Plan 103 Map
District Based Elections Flyer – English/Spanish
Elections Code Sections 23000 – 23003
Settlement Agreement – April 22, 2019
Staff Report of Intention to Transition to District-Based Elections – March 28, 2019
Resolution No. 18-22
CVRA Demand Letter – September 28, 2018
On November 8, 2018, the City Council adopted Resolution No. 18-22, declaring its intention to transition from at-large to district-based elections for the City Council commencing with the General Municipal Election in November 2022.
This decision came after significant community outreach and engagement, including website information, online mapping tools, public participation tools, newspaper advertising, public hearings, the Buellton BUZZ, and social media posts.
At its March 28, 2019 Council meeting, the City Council agreed to transition from Buellton’s existing at-large elections, to district-based elections and entered into a settlement agreement with Southwest Voter Registration Education Project (SVREP) on April 22, 2019.
Most California cities and other public agencies conduct elections on either an at-large basis (each representative is elected by vote of the entire voting population) or district-based basis (the jurisdiction is divided into separate districts and each voter within a district may cast one vote, only for a candidate seeking election within that district).
Buellton has traditionally utilized the at-large election system for Council Members and an elected Mayor. The Vice Mayor is chosen by a consensus of the City Council on an annual basis.
A key reason that the City is proceeding with district-based elections is the threat of significant litigation. Most of the California cities that have transitioned in the last few years have done so as a result of legal challenges brought under the California Voting Rights Act (CVRA). In 2018, Buellton received a Notice of Violation of the CVRA from a Southern California law firm, which has also sent such notices to dozens of other cities. Faced with potentially hundreds-of-thousands, or even millions of dollars in legal fees and damages (as some cities have experienced), Buellton decided to voluntarily proceed with transitioning to district-based elections.
It’s important to note that an allegation of a CVRA violation does not imply that the City or its Council is acting in a discriminatory manner; rather it is an allegation that the overall electoral system within the City is resulting in the disenfranchisement of minority voters. The intent of district-based elections is to give all legitimate groups, particularly minority groups, a better chance of being fairly represented on a City Council.
Creating district-based elections will include significant community outreach and engagement, including website information, online mapping tools, public participation kits, newspaper advertising, public hearings, the Buellton BUZZ, and social media posts.