Want some extra help navigating your Sunnyvale ballot? Read on to learn about how we got here and what your vote means.
Measure B – City Council Member District Elections
Ballot Language: “Shall Article VI of the City of Sunnyvale Charter be amended to establish ‘by-district’ elections for six Council Members required to be residents of a district and elected only by the voters of that district, and one Mayor who will be directly elected by all City voters; change term limits to permit service on the Council for three consecutive terms but only two as Council Member or Mayor; and make other conforming amendments?”
Background: The City of Sunnyvale’s Charter currently says that its seven Council Members are elected at large (meaning everyone gets to vote for every Council seat). The City is trying to avoid a California Voting Rights Act (CVRA) lawsuit against their at-large election system, so in September 2018 the City began exploring amendments to the charter to introduce a district-based election system that could protect them. In October 2018, Sunnyvale did receive a warning letter alleging CVRA violations.
In June 2019, the Sunnyvale City Council voted 5-2 to pass a resolution placing the six district voting question as well as the directly elected mayor question on the March ballot as a single measure.
Currently, Sunnyvale’s Mayor is selected from amongst the seven Council Members at their first January meeting following the election, which happens every two years. Different attempts to change the way the Mayor is selected have come and gone throughout the years, but Sunnyvale’s Mayor is still picked by Council Members.
Currently, Sunnyvale Council Members serve four-year terms, but can’t serve more than two consecutive terms.
Yes on Measure B Means: The City will amend the Charter from electing City Council Members at large to districts — the City will establish six districts with one Council Member each — and the Charter will change so that voters will elect the Mayor — everyone would vote for Mayor— instead of being picked by Council Members. Council Member candidates must live in their specified district and be elected by voters from that district.
Yes on Measure B also increases total term limits. They could serve up to three consecutive four-year terms, with no more than two terms as Council Member or Mayor.
A yes vote also implements a new 30-day Sunnyvale residency requirement on City Council and Mayor candidates.
The six districts will be used in November 2020. All voters will vote for Mayor in November 2020. Even districts will select their Council representative in 2020 and Odd districts in 2022. View the district map on the City’s website.
Arguments for Measure B can be found on the City’s website and one is signed by Mayor Larry Klein and others.
No on Measure B Means: The City’s Charter will continue to say that Council Members are elected at large, meaning everyone will continue to vote for each of the seven Council Members regardless of where they live. The Charter will also continue to say that the Mayor is selected from within the seven Council Members at their first meeting in January following the election — this happens every two years.
Term limits for City Council Members and Mayor will remain that same — no more than two consecutive four-year terms.
The Charter will continue to say that City Council Members just need to be registered voters of the City of Sunnyvale at the time of their nomination or appointment.
Arguments against Measure B can be found on the City’s website and some of the arguments are signed by members of an organization called No Directly Elected Sunnyvale Mayor and others.
Note: Measure B doesn’t change the way Vice Mayors are selected. They are currently selected from within Council.