San Francisco Unified Will Switch to District-Based Elections

San Francisco Unified trustees are expected to approve a transition from at-large elections to district-based elections at their regular meeting on Feb. 13. The district is hoping to have the new system in place by the November 2024 election.

The San Francisco Chronicle reported Tuesday that SFUSD had been threatened with a lawsuit. SFUSD confirmed Wednesday that it had received a warning.

“The Board of Education has received notice that our current citywide at-large elections may be challenged,” Board President Lainie Motamedi said. “While we believe our elections are in compliance with the intent of the law, we value fair and just elections and do not wish to engage in a costly lawsuit on this matter. The Board of Education’s focus will continue to be on ensuring educational excellence for our students and a sustainable future for the District.”

SFUSD would join hundreds of other jurisdictions, including over 190 school districts, that have dumped at-large voting since the 2001 passage of the California Voting Rights Act. The law “prohibits the use of an at-large election in a political subdivision if it would impair the ability of a protected class, as defined, to elect candidates of its choice or otherwise influence the outcome of an election.” Proponents of district-based elections say SFUSD’s current voting system disenfranchises people of color by diluting their votes.



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