If you live in a California city that elects its council citywide, rather than by district, a change may be on the way.
The state Supreme Court denied review Wednesday of a ruling that requires charter cities to switch to district elections if they have a history of racially polarized voting that reduces minority representation. The ruling, issued in May by a state appeals court in Los Angeles, is now a binding precedent for trial courts statewide.
There are 120 cities with self-governing charters in California. Of the more than 20 charter cities in the Bay Area, the largest — San Francisco, San Jose and Oakland — and some smaller cities, like Berkeley, Alameda and San Leandro, already elect council members by geographic districts. But most local communities, including Richmond, Hayward, Albany, San Mateo, San Rafael and Vallejo, conduct at-large, citywide elections.