The Collège du Marin is heading towards the elections of directors
College of Marin took the first step this week to change the way voters elect its nine-member board of directors.
The college will pass from general elections, where trustees are elected by county voters, to election of board members by nine areas of trustees. The directors will be elected by the voters of the regions where they live and will represent them.
The college expects the new system to come into effect by the November 2022 election.
“This type of election, called a constituency election, aims to ensure better representation of all the communities that live within the Marin Community College district boundaries,” said college spokesperson Nicole Cruz.
The trustees held a first public hearing on the change on Tuesday. Justin Rich, a demographer with Cooperative Strategies, told board members the college will be holding four hearings.
“Two before the cards are drawn, and two while we are preparing the card projects,” said Rich. The second public hearing is scheduled for September 28 at 5 p.m.
Rich said the redistribution process, which has already taken place in a number of other governing bodies and school districts in Marin over the past three years, will bring the council’s electoral system into line with California’s rights law. 2003 vote.
The law prohibits a governing body from obstructing the ability of a protected class – such an ethnic minority, for example – to elect a candidate of its choice, Rich said. The general election could be seen as undermining a candidate from a protected class who does not have the resources to run a county-wide campaign, for example.
“This will likely improve local representation,” said administrator Phil Kranenburg. “The challenge will be for the trustees to balance the desires of their unique zone with the desires of the entire district. “
Administrator Paul da Silva agreed.
“Changing the structure of the election certainly has the potential to change the board of directors,” he said.
“The smaller districts offer the promise of deepening the democratic process by facilitating the candidacy of more candidates,” he said. “On the other hand, they also present the risk of restricting the prospects of candidates so that they do not take into account the greater good of the whole county.”
Wanden Treanor, the chairman of the board, said the redistribution was tied to the College of Marin’s overall focus on fairness.
“This change comes at a time when voting rights are being trampled across the country,” she said. “By doing this, we increase the number of diverse people who could actively engage in our democracy at the local level. “
The first order of business will be deciding how to divide the district and draw the maps, Rich said.
Rich said the idea was to keep population totals roughly equal between the nine trust areas, but without dividing up the “compact and contiguous” communities, he said.
“There shouldn’t be more than a 10% gap” among the trust area population totals, Rich said.
The borders of trust areas will tend to be barriers such as Highway 101, Sir Francis Drake Boulevard or natural features such as hills, streams or lakes, he said.
Cards will not be drawn specifically to accommodate any of the Trustees or where they live, although there is some consideration for this aspect.
“We will respect the incumbent, but that’s not the overriding consideration,” Rich said.
Cruz said the board will release information on directors who may serve in a specific area once the mapping process is in its final stages.
“The effects of redistribution on incumbents will vary depending on district boundaries,” she said. “These will be established later in the process – estimated at the end of 2021 or the beginning of 2022.”
The college has created a web page at www1.marin.edu/redisricting so that the public can follow the draft maps as they are created. The site also includes instructions for accessing public hearings online.
“At this point, we don’t know if multiple incumbents will reside in the same district, or where the district boundaries will be set, either in the draft maps or in the final map that will be adopted,” said Cruz.
The district has 207,932 residents of voting age, Rich said.