SAN MATEO -- Bay Area News Group will hold a panel discussion Oct. 24 on San Mateo County's historic switch from at-large to district elections for the Board of Supervisors.

The forum will explore the implications of the shift, which came in response to a lawsuit alleging the old system discriminated against minorities. The new format will be in place for the June 2014 primary, when Supervisors Don Horsley and Carole Groom are up for re-election.

The panelists are Warren Slocum, supervisor for District 4, which includes East Palo Alto and Menlo Park; Claire Mack, an author and former mayor of San Mateo; and Tiombe Jama, an East Palo Alto resident and community activist. It will be moderated by Martin Reynolds, senior editor for community engagement of Bay Area News Group, comprised of the San Mateo County Times, San Jose Mercury News, Daily News, Oakland Tribune and several other publications.

"This forum will be an opportunity to discuss how people have felt about the leadership at the county level, and what they hope will emerge out of new district elections," Reynolds said in an email. "Will this new system make the changes residents want to see in their county leaders? This event will give us a chance to talk about it."

The discussion comes as the Board of Supervisors considers whether to adjust the boundaries of its five supervisorial districts to ensure they are fair to minorities and other constituencies. The board is expected to make a decision at its meeting Tuesday.

San Mateo County was the last in California to switch to district elections, in which candidates are chosen by voters in each district. Until now supervisors have been elected by voters countywide.

Critics claimed at-large elections diluted the influence of the county's growing minority communities, from Daly City in the north to East Palo Alto in the south. Faced with a lawsuit, the county put a charter amendment on the ballot last November. Voters approved the change to district elections, and the county settled the suit earlier this year.

Thursday's forum is free and open to the public. It will be held at the San Mateo Main Library.

Contact Aaron Kinney at 650-348-4357. Follow him at Twitter.com/kinneytimes.

ELECTION forum
What: Panel discussion on San Mateo County district elections
When: 5:30-7:30 p.m. Oct. 24
Where: The Oak Room at the San Mateo Main Library, 55 W. Third Ave., San Mateo
RSVP: To reserve a spot at this free event, call 510-208-6433 or email mreynolds@bayareanewsgroup.com.