• Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)


  • What is the California Voting Rights Act (CVRA)?

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    The California Voting Rights Act (CVRA) prohibits the use of any election system “that impairs the ability of a protected class to elect candidates of its choice or its ability to influence the outcome of an election.”  Jurisdictions can be sued if they elect their governing body using an at-large, from-districts, or mixed election system. If the court finds against a jurisdiction, the jurisdiction must change its election system and pay the plaintiff’s attorneys, experts, and other expenses.

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  • What is an At-Large Area Election System?

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    An At-Large Area Election System is where all voters can vote for all seats up for election. At-large systems allow 50 percent of voters to control 100 percent of seats, and in consequence typically result in racially and politically homogenous elected bodies. This type of system has frequently been struck down under the Voting Rights Act for not providing communities of color fair representation. 

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  • What is a By-Trustee Area Election System?

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    A "By-Trustee Area Election System" means a method of electing members to the governing body of a political subdivision in which the candidate must reside within an election district that is a divisible part of the political subdivision and is elected only by voters residing within that election district.

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  • Why is Chino Valley USD considering a transition to a By-Trustee Area Election System?

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    A demand letter dated January 19, 2021 was provided to CVUSD and claims the District’s current process of electing Board of Education members through an At-Large Election System violates the California Voting Rights Act (“CVRA”). The demand letter contends the District’s election process “may be occurring by polarized voting,” and threatens litigation if the District does not adopt a By-Trustee Election System. The Board of Education has decided to take advantage of recent legislation (AB 350) that provides a short window of opportunity to discuss, invite public input, and ultimately decide on a district-based election process.  Upon adoption, the District is provided with an additional 90 days to conduct public hearings prior to an ordinance ordering the transition to a By-Trustee Area Election System (Elections Code Section 10010). 

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  • How will transitioning to a By-Trustee Area Election System affect Chino Valley residents?

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    If approved, registered voters in the school district boundaries will have the opportunity to vote for a candidate for CVUSD's Board of Education that lives in their trustee Area. Registered voters will not be able to vote for Board of Education candidates from trustee areas in which they do not reside.

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  • How many trustee areas will be considered?

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    At this time, the Board of Education will be considering a map that includes five (5) trustee areas. 

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  • How many Board members will be elected to the CVUSD Board of Education?

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    Five (5) Board members will be elected to the CVUSD Board of Education and serve the Chino Valley community.

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  • How can Chino Valley residents assist with forming trustee areas?

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    The CVUSD Board of Education will host public hearings to receive community feedback on the proposed trustee areas. Community residents are also invited to leave feedback by visiting the Updated Proposed By-Trustee Election Area Maps webpage on the CVUSD website. 

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  • How many proposed map drafts will be considered?

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    UPDATED (12/16/21): A professional demographer has prepared three proposed map drafts that have been developed using 2020 Census information. Community residents can access and view proposed map drafts by visiting the Updated Proposed By-Trustee Election Area Maps webpage on the CVUSD website.   

    As of July 7, 2021, the Board of Education will consider four (4) proposed map drafts prepared by a professional demographer. 

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  • What criteria will be used to select the final trustee areas?

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    Assuming that the Board of Education chooses to adopt a map and transition to a By-Trustee Area Election System, the Board of Education will consider a range of factors in selecting the final map including (but not limited to) equal population, communities of interest, compactness, contiguity of districts, visible boundaries, and respect for voters’ wishes and continuity in office.

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  • How will written communications be memorialized during the public hearing process?

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    All written communications will be provided to the Board of Education and will be part of the public record.  The Board will consider the public record as part of its determination on how the final trustee area map will be configured.

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  • What is the timeline for the change?

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    The timeline is prescribed by the California Elections Code 10010.

    The Board of Education adopted a resolution of intent during the Board of Education Meeting held on March 4, 2021. In order to receive the “safe harbor” protection of AB 350, the Board of Education has 90 days to adopt an ordinance transitioning to district based elections for Board of Education members.

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  • When will these new By-Trustee Area Election System take effect?

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    If approved, the new By-Trustee Area Elections will not become effective until the November 2022 election.  However, the specific date on which a Board of Education Member will be elected from each of the new geographic trustee areas (i.e., either in November 2022 or November 2024) will be determined as part of the ordinance that adopts the new districts.

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  • What if there is no candidate in one of the trustee areas?

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    There is a limited, 25-day window for candidates seeking to run for office to file declarations of candidacy with the County Registrar. This narrow window opens 113 days prior to the election and closes 88 days prior to the election. If no qualified candidate emerges from a trustee area up for election, the Board of Education may appoint to fill the vacancy with a resident of that trustee area.

    Unlike ordinary appointments, according to Education Code section 5326, if no candidate has been nominated 83 days prior to the election, the Board of Education is authorized to appoint a qualified person to the Board. Such appointment must occur at a Board of Education meeting prior to election day. Unlike, most vacancies, vacancies and appointments due to failure to elect result in the appointee serving "as if elected" – for the full term (Education Code section 5328).

    The District's Board Bylaw ("BB") No. 9223 (Filling Vacancies) describes the process for finding qualified candidates to appoint. Specifically, the District is required to advertise in the local media to solicit candidate applications or nominations, and a committee consisting of less than a quorum of the Board of Education shall ensure that applicants are eligible for Board membership and announce the names of the eligible candidates. The Board of Education shall interview candidates during a public meeting, accept oral or written public input, and select the provisional appointee by a majority vote (also see Education Code section 5328.5).

    In sum, should no qualified candidate emerge, starting at the close of business on the 83rd day prior to election day, the District will begin to advertise the open seat within the relevant trustee area and form a committee of less than a quorum of the Board of Education (two (2) Board members). Importantly, the appointee must be eligible for office and reside within the specific vacant trustee area. The appointment must be made during a Board of Education meeting prior to election day. The appointed member will serve as if elected in the general election, for four (4) years.

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  • When will 2020 US Census data be considered in the formulation of the By-Trustee Area Election map?

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    Following each decennial federal census, Education Code section 5019.5(a) specifically requires school districts with trustee area elections to adjust boundaries of any or all trustee areas of the district to ensure that one or both of the following conditions is satisfied:

    1. The population of each area is, as nearly as may be, the same proportion of the total population of the district as the ratio that the number of governing board members elected from the area bears to the total number of members of the governing board.

    1. The population of each area is, as nearly as may be, the same proportion of the total population of the district as each of the other areas.

    The District is required to make any such adjustment by the first day of March of the year following the release of the new decennial census data.  Therefore, depending on potential population growth and movement depicted via the 2020 census, the trustee area map lines may need to be adjusted to achieve equal population in advance of the 2022 election.

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  • Why is CVUSD being divided into five (5) trustee areas, instead of three (3), seven (7) or nine (9)?

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    Pursuant to Education Code section 35012, the default number of trustees for a given school district is five (5).  In certain circumstances, a unified school district may be formed with, or increase its number of trustees to, seven (7) members.  Also, elementary school districts with daily attendance of under 300 students are permitted to have as few as three (3) trustees.  While there is a process that permits school districts to move from five (5) to seven (7), the recent and ongoing transition to a By-Trustee Area Election System does not impact the number of trustees representing and governing the District.  Instead, this transition only alters the method by which trustees are elected.  Since CVUSD is governed by a five (5) trustee Board, the proposed draft map options each create five (5) trustee areas.

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  • Will all five (5) Board of Education seats be open for election during the next general election?

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    No, the District’s November 2018 election seated two (2) Board of Education members for four-year terms through 2022. During its first By-Trustee Area Election in 2022, the District will have two (2) governing Board of Education seats available for election.

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  • *What happens if current BOE members live within the same boundary of a proposed trustee area?

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    According to Education Code § 5021(a), “[i]f a proposal for the establishment [of trustee area elections] is approved . . . any affected incumbent board member shall serve out his or her term of office...”

    It is possible that proposed trustee map options have been drawn with more than one governing Board of Education member living within a single trustee area. Whether or not such a scenario exists depends on population density data and the locations of residence of governing Board of Education members. In such a scenario, if all governing Board of Education members within a given trustee area have terms that expire simultaneously (i.e. 2024), those members will serve their full terms but only one may win re-election from the trustee area within which they reside – or a challenger can prevail in that area’s 2024 election.

    Alternatively, a given trustee area may be home to multiple Governing Board of Education members whose current terms have different expiration dates (i.e., one governing Board of Education member’s term expires in 2022 while another member’s expires in 2024). In such cases, two possibilities exist:

    1. If the election cycle selected is 2022, the governing Board of Education member whose term expires in 2022 will be permitted to run during the 2022 election in that trustee area when the seat is available. The Board of Education member whose term expires in 2024 will remain on the board as an At-Large member and will be eligible to run in the 2026 election when the seat in that trustee area is available. They also have the option to become domiciled within a trustee area open for election in 2024.

    1. If the election cycle selected is 2024, the governing Board of Education member whose term expires in 2024 will be permitted to run in the 2024 election in that trustee area when the seat is available. The Board of Education member whose term expires in 2022 will term out in December 2022 and become eligible to run for the Board of Education during the 2024 election when the seat in that trustee area is available.
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  • Are Chino Valley voters allowed to vote for more than one candidate during the general election?

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    No. Under the By-Trustee Area Election System, Chino Valley voters are permitted to vote for only one candidate where the voter resides. 

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  • *Revised for clarification.