Eureka’s Voting System 101
For those not familiar “≈” = approximately equal.
How we are not equal: race demographics and an equivalent racially charge history. (btw, we have our own to understand and live with)
How we are eerily similar: an institutional and often unconstitutional voting system that allowing for the best chances that those with views outside the established status quo will find it more difficult to win elections.
There is a big difference between Eureka and Ferguson based on our geography and history and I don’t want to minimize the struggle and uphill battle that Ferguson’s African American population faces. However, as commenter Not A Native pointed out shortly after Michael Brown’s killing by a police officer, the power structures that allow for African Americans in Ferguson to be under represented and for the disenfranchised to be under-represented in Eureka are similar. At large voting coupled with an election timing that insures most elections take place during the least popular elections.
Here is what is happening…
a) 5 Eureka Wards:
Eureka voting 101. Eureka has a City Council with 5 Council Members and a Mayor. I’m not an expert (read I know nothing) on the power of Eurka’s Major, but I understand it is limit. Much or most of the direction for policy is held by the Council majority.
Each of the 5 Council Members must live in their respective Ward (see below). In reality, let’s be honest, when considering candidates both sides are guilty of deciding the ends of electing someone justify the means of making sure a candidate is a long-term resident and/or actual representative of this or that Ward.
b) From the voter’s perspective
A Eureka resident who lives in any of the 5 Wards will get to vote for all 5 city councilmembers and the mayor. Here is how this breaks down by year.
i) November 2014 +4 years (National Mid-terms). Every forth year of the mid-term elections an Eureka resident will be able to vote for 3 city councilmembers (wards 1, 3 and 5) and the mayor. Not a bad deal, assuming of course we can find candidates.
ii) November 2016 +4 years (National Presidential Elections. Every forth year including 2016 onwards Eureka residents get to vote for 2 city councilmembers (wards 2 and 4). In 2016 this will be Linda Atkin’s and Melinda Ciarabellini’s seats.
… in the mean time enjoy today’s NYT opinion piece on Ferguson’s at large system…
Figure One: Eureka’s Ward Map
- From the 1/5/15 NYT: Race and Voting Rights in Ferguson
- From the 8/15/14 WP: How Ferguson exposes the racial bias in local elections
- Eureka, CA ward map pdf
Questions and Answers:
Question (6:10 am): Can WordPress titles and LoCO’s Elsewhere links handle unusual symbols?
Answer: (6:20 am): WordPress can. (6:21 am) LoCO can! Huzzah for maths!
Question: (1/5/15) How long will it take for Eureka City to update their map?