A number of cities in California have faced California Voting Rights Act (CVRA) lawsuits since it was adopted in 2001 and not one city has successfully defended a CVRA lawsuit brought to mandate district-based elections. It was reported that there is a low threshold for plaintiffs to establish a valid claim under the CVRA and cities are required to pay the plaintiff’s costs if their claim is deemed valid. Due to the significant costs of defending against these lawsuits, the vast majority of cities have voted to voluntarily transition to district-based elections.

Examples of settlements:

  • Anaheim - $1.1 million
  • Hanford Joint Union Schools - $118,000
  • Madera Unified - about $170,000
  • Merced City - $42,000
  • Modesto - $3 million plaintiff's attorney fees and $1.7 million for its ownattorneys
  • Palmdale - $4.7 million
  • Placentia - $20,000
  • Santa Barbara - $600,000
  • Tulare Hospital - $500,000
  • West Covina - $220,000 
  • Whittier - $1 million

Switched (or in the process of switching) as a result of CVRA challenges:

  • At least 169 school districts
  • 32 community college districts
  • Over 77 cities
  • 1 County Board of Supervisors
  • 10 water and other special districts