I received an email this week from an Asian activist who was wondering why it is that the Fullerton City Council has no Asians or Latinos on it, even though they make up over 56% of the population, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.
That is a very good question. The elections in Fullerton are done on an at large basis, which is to say that everyone in town votes for the Council candidates as a whole. Other cities may require candidates to live in particular districts or areas, and the voters may in those cases be able to vote only on their ward-specific candidates.
Critics say that leads to divided Councils where nothing gets done. However ward-specific elections can also increase minority representation as some districts, or wards, may have higher concentrations of minority voters. Continue reading