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Here’s more food for thought on the school board election system: While Katherine Nakamura is challenging the system because not all voters in San Diego Unified get to vote in the June primary, the biggest recent challenge to school board elections has come from the opposite end, prodding schools to localize elections in the name of diversity. We wrote an article about it earlier this year:
School districts in San Diego County are eyeing legal threats across the state as cautionary tales that could prompt big changes in the way school boards are elected, spurring them to pick leaders from specific areas rather than the district as a whole. …
A case last year in Madera, a small city northwest of Fresno, argued that Latino voters were drowned out and disadvantaged by citywide elections there, which put all candidates up before all voters. Such elections can put governments in hot water under the California Voting Rights Act if challengers can prove that there are clear racial patterns in voting that drown out distinct groups.
A San Francisco law firm has taken up the cause, challenging school districts on their election systems.
Vista Unified School District, for instance, is changing its elections so that all school board members are elected by smaller subdistricts. The move was meant to help ensure that Latinos have a voice on the board.
— EMILY ALPERT