LOS ANGELES, CA – Chaffey Community College District voted Thursday to change the way it elects representatives to the five-member Governing Board.
The vote to shift from an at-large election system to a district-based voting system comes less than two months after MALDEF (Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund) warned district officials that the current election system violates the California Voting Rights Act of 2001 by diluting Latino voting strength.
“This is an important step to ensure that all voters in the jurisdiction have a voice in the Chaffey Community College District’s future,” said Matthew Barragan, a staff attorney with MALDEF.
In October, MALDEF sent the district a letter demanding it make changes to its election system to address concerns that Latino residents are underrepresented on the board.
Latinos constitute 46 percent of the citizen voting age population of the district. Yet, there is currently only one Latina serving on the five-member board.
Other community college districts have faced similar legal challenges in recent years, including Los Angeles Community College District (LACCD), Cerritos Community College District and Santa Clarita Community College District. All three districts have now adopted district-based election systems.
The Chaffey Community College District serves the population of the inland empire of western San Bernardino County, where the communities of Chino, Chino Hills, Fontana, Guasti, Montclair.