A local Latino rights organization threatens lawsuit unless Monterey changes election process

Christopher Neely

Monterey County Weekly

Oct 15, 2021

In his letter Andrew Sandoval of LULAC says courts almost always agree that at-large elections should become district-based. “These are not the kind of odds that Monterey wants to bet on,” he wrote.


The city of Monterey’s at-large election system, in which the mayor and all four city council members are elected through a citywide popular vote, could be silencing the political voices of some and creating obstacles to equal representation, according to a local civil rights group that is demanding changes to the city’s electoral process.

Monterey, a city of 30,218 residents according to 2020 census data, has 16 distinct neighborhoods, yet, the mayor and all four council members come from only two of these neighborhoods: Oldtown and Monterey Vista, which border one another and are considered locally as being “up on the hill.” The city has also become more diverse over the last decade, with the portion of the population identifying as a racial minority growing to nearly 33 percent, while the portion of the white population fell from 78 percent to 67 percent. Today, four of five of the city’s elected leaders are white.