Sat. Apr 20th, 2024

Ward Map-Color2

Did you know that Santa Ana City Council elections are conducted on a citywide basis, but you have to live in the ward that you are running for?  That’s odd, isn’t it?

In most cities, local elections are conducted on a ward-specific basis.  That means you vote for yoiur council member – not those who represent other wards.  That makes sense, doesn’t it?

What this means is that Council Members are more accountable to those who live in their ward – and it also means anyone can run for the Council, walk their Ward and have a shot at winning.  Right now you practically have to be wealthy or backed by a lot of special interests to be able to prevail in local Santa Ana elections.

Not everyone is a fan of Ward-Specific elections.  Some people say that these type of elections discourage unity and result in Council Members who only care about their wards.  That might come true in some areas.  But these type of elections actually produce Council Members that look like the people they represent.

There was an attempt some years ago to do this via the ballot box in Santa Ana.  However the Usual Suspects all said it was Nativo Lopez trying to take over the city.  The measure failed.

Ironically, today the only way a non-Latino will serve on our City Council is with the use of Ward-Specific elections.

Here is a list of cities that elect their Council members by districts/wards:

Charter Cities

Bakersfield (212,715)

Berkeley (105,855)

Dinuba (14,638)

Downey (92,092) 1 council elected at-large

Fresno (367,684)

*Inglewood++ (116,032)

*Long Beach (442,106)

*Los Angeles (3,638,148)

*Oakland (386,779)

*Pasadena (137, 136

*Pomona (139,792)

*Redondo Beach++ (63,913)

*Riverside ++ (247,800)

*Sacramento (396,032)

Salinas (122,468)

*San Bernardino (185,942)

*San Diego (1,197,676)

*San Jose (849,363)

*Seal Beach (26,795)

Stockton (234,009)

Watsonville (34,248)

++ In these cities, if no one gets 51% of the vote, then they have a run-off election at a later date.

General Law Cities

Bradbury (890)

??Coachella?? (21,038

Colton (45,479)

Hanford (38,469)

Hollister (24,698)

Moreno Valley (135,635)

Parlier (9,452)

West Sacramento (30,231)

And here is a list of cities that nominates council members from districts or wards but elects them at large:

Charter Cities

Alhambra (88,518)

*Compton (93,268)

*Eureka (28,606)

Newport Beach (70,098)

San Leandro (72,307)

Santa Ana (337,977) (Census of Population, 2000) 78,217 (Orange County Registrar of Voters, Map Section, 01/16/02)

General Law Cities

Woodside (5,396)

*Cities with primary elections

Population figures from League of Cities database, July 1997

Amazing.  Only a handful of cities conduct their local elections the way Santa Ana does.  And Santa Ana is by far the largest city that conducts elections in this manner.

Our current system is dated and it needs to go.



By Editor

The New Santa Ana blog has been covering news, events and politics in Santa Ana since 2009.

4 thoughts on “Is it time for ward-specific City Council elections in Santa Ana?”
  1. If the city went to Ward Specific elections, would that also mean gerrymander of ward borders to ensure safe seats for incumbents?

  2. Quick question..

    With regards to how city council members are elected, what does the section entitled “General Law Cities” entail?

  3. Currently each voters get to vote for 4 canidates in each city election.

    If we changed to Ward Specific, then each voter would lose 62.5 percent of their voting Rights. How can that be claimed to be a benefit to us voters?

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