The City Attorney’s Office is providing guidance for a motion by City Councilmember Jose Huizar that would clarify voter qualifications for Neighborhood Council elections.
The motion was prompted by community concern over voters that lacked an appropriate stake in the neighborhood that qualified them to vote. In some cases, individuals who provided a single receipt from a neighborhood purchase were permitted to vote in Neighborhood Council elections.
Working with the Department of Neighborhood Empowerment (DONE), the City Attorney’s Office confirmed that a single receipt is not legally sufficient stake to qualify a voter. Rather, each voter’s “factual basis” stake must reflect a substantial interest in the neighborhood, consistent with the significant stake of those who “live, work, or own property” in the neighborhood and who are identified as stakeholders by the City Charter.
The issue was first raised following the 2010 Neighborhood Council elections. At the time, the City Attorney’s Office submitted a report requesting that the City Council address several problems noted during those elections, including the need to clarify the definition and eligibility requirements of “factual stakeholders.”