In July 2017 the Carlsbad City Council voted to change the way City Council members are elected, creating four districts to be phased in during the 2018 and 2020 elections. The City of Carlsbad was under a strict deadline to make this change or face a lawsuit challenging its at-large or citywide method of electing City Council members.
District maps are required to be reviewed every 10 years based on the latest Census. This means that these new district boundaries will be reviewed in 2021 using the 2020 Census data. Based on that review, the district lines could change for the 2022 election. District elections will be phased in, with district one, in the northwest part of the city, and district three, which runs west to east in the middle part of the city, scheduled to hold elections in 2018. The other two districts will hold their first elections in 2020. City Council members serve four year terms.