The City of Poway was incorporated on December 1, 1980. The first elected Poway City Council consisted of Bob Emery, Linda Oravec, Clyde Rexrode, Mary Shepardson, and Bruce Tarzy. The second highest vote recipients (Bob Emery and Bruce Tarzy) received 4-year terms and the remaining three (Linda Oravec, Clyde Rexrode and Mary Shepardson) received 2-year terms.
The City Council held the first election to fill three Council seats on April 13, 1982. On February 8, 1983, an ordinance was adopted which consolidated future General Municipal Elections with the November Statewide General Elections to reduce cost and increase voter turnout.
Before 1990, the Mayor was chosen on a rotating basis between the existing five City Councilmembers. The term for Mayor was one year. In 1990, registered voters of the city of Poway voted to approve Proposition K, to elect four City Councilmembers and a directly elected Mayor. Any election materials prior to the city's date of incorporation are on file at the county Registrar of Voters.
Following a public input process including four public hearings on February 15, 2022, the City Council unanimously selected to maintain the previously adopted City Council District Boundary Map (PDF). The initial District Elections was held November 6, 2018 for Council District 1 and 3. Election for Council Districts 2 and 4 was held on November 3, 2020. All of the districts have been introduced at this time and the transition to By-District Elections has been completed.