District Elections

What do District Elections mean for Lake Forest?

Beginning with the November 2018 election, Lake Forest began electing members of the City Council from individual districts, instead of by citywide vote.

Electing City Council Representatives by Districts

At a Glance

See the district map (PDF).

  • The City of Lake Forest changed the way City Council Members are elected and switched from an at-large election to a District-based election system.
  • In 2017, the City Council conducted public workshops, hearings and draft maps to create new geographic boundaries for the City's five districts.
  • Voters in each district select one council representative who also lives in that district.
  • The Mayor will continue to be a rotating position, selected among five Council Members

More Information

How will by-district elections work?

Voters will only vote for the City Council position up for election in their specific district. In the November 2018 election, Districts 2, 3 and 4 began the transition to the new election system. Residents of these districts voted for one City Council member to serve a 4-year term. Districts 1 and 5 will complete the transition in the November 2020 election. At the end of their terms, a Council Members are eligible to run for re-election within the district in which they reside.

  • District 1: Transition in 2020
  • District 2: Transition in 2018
  • District 3: Transition in 2018
  • District 4: Transition in 2018
  • District 5: Transition in 2020

How do I find out what District I live in?

Residents can check the 2018 District Map online. If you do not have access to a computer, contact the City Clerk's Office at 461-3420 or in person at Lake Forest City Hall, 25550 Commercentre Drive Suite 100, Lake Forest, CA 92630.

How do I find my polling location?

Voters should check their sample ballot for any changes to the location of their polling place. Voters can also find their polling location online.

Why do I have a new polling location?

The City of Lake Forest consolidates its elections with the County of Orange, which administers all City elections. The County of Orange also administers the elections for special districts that, along with the City, have district/district geographical boundaries. Due to the changes, many precincts have changed for City voters and some voters who reside within a small precinct area, may have a "mail only" option for voting.

What's the difference between by-district elections and previous City district elections?

Previously, council members had to live within the geographical boundaries of the City, and all registered voters in the City could vote for all eligible seats. As of 2018, voters in each district select one Council representative who must live in that district.

Why the change?

The California Voting Rights Act of 2001 (CVRA), prohibits the use of an at-large election in a political subdivision if it would impair the ability of a protected class, as defined, to elect candidates of its choice or otherwise influence the outcome of an election. The CVRA provides that a voter who is a member of a protected class may bring an action in superior court to enforce the provisions of the CVRA, and, if the voter prevails in the case, he or she may be awarded reasonable litigation costs and attorney's fees. The CVRA requires a court to implement appropriate remedies, including the imposition of district-based elections, that are tailored to remedy a violation of the act.

Who created the district boundaries?

The City hired a Consultant, held a series of workshop and Public Hearings at which they received input from residents, and the City Council adopted the map (PDF). Below is a brief timeline of events

  • May 2, 2017 - City Council meeting introducing resolution of intention to transition to district-based elections
  • August 1, 2017 - City Council meeting Public Hearing No. 1
  • August 10, 2017 - Community Workshop (El Toro Library)
  • August 17, 2017 - Community Workshop (Lake Forest Sports Park)
  • September 5, 2017 - City Council meeting Public Hearing No. 2
  • October 3, 2017 - City Council meeting Public Hearing No. 3
  • November 7, 2017 - City Council meeting Public Hearing No. 4- narrowed to 5 focus maps
  • November 21, 2017 - City Council meeting Public Hearing No. 5
  • December 5, 2017 - City Council meeting to introduce Ordinance 301 related to the transition to district-based elections
  • December 19, 2017 - City Council meeting Adoption of Ordinance 301
  • November 6, 2018 - First election for district representatives for districts 2, 3, and 4