Santa Maria officials rejected a petition for a ballot measure calling for voters to be allowed to decide whether they want to shift from at-large, to district City Council elections, saying that the effort doesn’t conform with the election code.
City officials say there were what they called “technical defects” with the petitions. The City Clerk’s office asserts that the petition did not follow the correct formatting as required by the Elections Code, and there wasn’t a proper header identifying the purpose of the petition. They also say it was missing a statement required by law referencing the fact that circulators must be 18 years of age or older.
The initiative was backed by members of the community who believe that the city’s large Latino population isn’t properly represented by the council.
The council recently drew the ire of many Latino residents when it approved the controversal opening of a major new Immigration and Customs Enforcement facility in the city.