SELMA – Selma’s Healthcare District is in the process of changing its election system from at-large to by-district elections.
It’s a process that Kingsburg's City Council and Kingsburg Health Care District have already underwent in order to comply with voters’ rights laws under the California Voting Rights Act of 2001.
A meeting scheduled for Sept. 3 was cancelled regarding the matter, but another meeting is scheduled for 5:30-7 p.m. Sept. 10 at the Nick Medina Senior Center, 2301 Selma St.
National Demographics Corporation has been hired to lead Selma’s Healthcare District through the process. This agency is also working with Selma’s City Council as they, too, are moving through the process to have elections by districts.
Attorney Kenneth Price, the SHCD Board’s legal counsel, said one of the main goals of the California Voting Rights Act is to ensure all portions of a district have representation on the board.
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“What [at-large elections] do, in effect, is freeze out some minority or economic populations. You might find city councils or boards of districts that didn’t really represent the demographics of the group. This is designed to ensure this is not happening.”
Professional demographers are presenting different maps with a variety of district options that keep ‘communities of interest’ together. These are based on school attendance areas, water and sewer districts, geographic boundaries and the configuration of the district itself, Price said. The public can give input on presented maps, then adjustments will be made and a final map approved at a later meeting.
For the upcoming 2020 elections and all further elections, those who are interested in running for a seat must reside in the district they wish to represent. Also, only voters that live in a particular district will vote for candidates that live in their area.
The Selma Healthcare Board oversees the distribution of property taxes garnered from property owners in its district. The district covers the area of the City of Selma, a western portion of Parlier and parts of the northern edge of Kingsburg. At the July 16 meeting, their treasury report showed their most recent balance was $255,677.14.
Current board members include President Rose Robertson, Treasurer Leticia Gallardo, vice chairman Anthony Herrera and members Lorane Avalos and Colleen Nelson. Robertson and Avalos’ seats come up for election in 2020. Gallardo, Herrera and Nelson’s seats come up for election in 2022.