The City of Merced has traditionally elected its City Council representatives using an at-large election system. An at-large election system means that candidates from any area of a city may run, and voters get to vote on all candidates. In a district-based electoral system, a city is divided into a number of districts. Voters can only vote on the candidate running in their particular district, and candidates can only run in the district in which they live. Districting is the process of drawing the boundaries that divide the city's population into districts.
In November 2014, voters in the city of Merced voted to approve Measure "T", a measure that will create 6 electoral districts in the City of Merced. The Mayor will continue to be elected at-large. An independent citizen's committee was formed to work with a demographer in order to recommend how the district lines should be drawn.