Tehachapi residents to decide on voting districts

KBAK/KBFX photo, file

Tehachapi voters may soon elect their City Council in a new way thanks to a lawsuit and an effort by some private citizens.

Presently, Tehachapi's City Council is elected by an at-large system in which the top vote recipients are put on the council regardless of where they live.

The city was sued because of this system. The lawsuit alleges that the at-large system violates the rights of voters as established by California state law. The lawsuit makes a claim that the current system minimizes the power of minority-populated neighborhoods.

The city did put together a plan to address the issue and to move the city to district-based voting.

However, now the decision has been taken out of the hands of council.

A group of citizens garnered 550 signatures. That is more than 10 percent of the Tehachapi voter pool, which means the voting districts they propose will now be on an upcoming ballot.

This means every voter in Tehachapi will get a say as to whether or not the city moves to district voting.

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