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Complicated Process Initially For TUD Election Transition

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Sonora, CA — The Tuolumne Utilities District will transition to a district, or division, based system starting during the upcoming November General Election.

We reported earlier that the change is to ensure that TUD is complying with rules under the California Voting Rights Act of 2001. It will take four years to fully transition, and the implementation will be somewhat complicated for the incumbents.

In years past, all five seats have been at-large, meaning there were either two or three seats per election cycle (every two years), and the top vote-getters would win, regardless of what part of the county they reside.

As part of the shift, on the ballot this November will be District One, which covers the Phoenix Lake and Columbia area, and District Four, which is Tuolumne-Standard. Ron Ringen is considered the District One incumbent and Jeff Kerns is the District Four incumbent. They both have the option of running for re-election. The election filing window opened on Monday and closes in mid-August. So far only one candidate has filed papers to run for one of the seats, newcomer Alexander Horat in District Four.

Come 2024, there will be three incumbent candidates who can run for re-election, Barbara Balen, David Boatright and Lisa Murphy. The district reports that they all currently reside in District Three (Sonora), so they will have to compete against each other if they all choose to run for re-election.

Meanwhile, the new District Two seat come 2024 will cover Jamestown and the south county and District Five will be Twain Harte and above.

The Tuolumne County Board of Supervisors uses a similar district-based system for electing its five members.