New lines were drawn when Rancho Santiago Community College District applied new zones for the elected seats of the board of trustees.
That leaves three candidates with one seat to fight for.
Incumbents Mark McLoughlin and David Chapel are competing against each other, and against Claudia Alvarez, a Santa Ana councilwoman. Brian Conley, the third incumbent, opted to retire.
New district Chancellor Raul Rodriguez lauded the new zones as being a fair representation of the area’s changing demographics. But he conceded an initial hesitancy to upset the status quo until voting rights violation lawsuits elsewhere in the state convinced the board to act.
College districts in Fresno and Bakersfield are now encumbered by lawsuits, convincing district leaders to comply with sections of a state law banning local governments from under-representing minority populations.
California bans local governments from having so-called ‚Äú at large” elections, where several members occupy multiple seats serving the same area.
Retiring trustee Chapel recognized the irony of having three white males representing largely Latino and Asian populations.
“Our voting system was not getting the diversity that we were interested in,” he said.