SACRAMENTO — The 2020 California Citizens Redistricting Commission (Commission) announced in a press release the approval of HaystaqDNA and Q2 Data & Research, LLC as the contractors selected to assist in the professional and technical drawing of district lines. The Commission is tasked with mapping new districts based on the 2020 Census in conformity with strict, non-partisan rules put in place to ensure fair representation for all Californians. HaystaqDNA and Q2 Data & Research, LLC served as technical consultants to the Arizona and California independent redistricting commissions, respectively, in 2011.
The release said the line-drawing team will introduce itself at the Commission’s Thursday, April 1, meeting, which will start at 9:30 a.m. A link to the live webcast can be found at http://videossc.com/CRC/.
The contractors will provide professional and technical services, according to the release, including line-drawing services, to the Commission. In the era of COVID-19, contractors were asked to prepare a plan describing how to conduct line-drawing services under these new and uncertain circumstances.
“We are excited to announce the confirmation of HaystaqDNA and Q2 Data & Research, LLC as the line drawing team for the 2020 California Citizens Redistricting Commission,” stated Chair Ray Kennedy in the release. “We are confident that this team will be dynamic in helping the Commission distill what we anticipate will be significant public input into digital maps during this global pandemic.”
“Thank you to the 2020 California Citizens Redistricting Commission for continuing to put their trust in me and my team. I cannot wait to begin on the statewide tour to hear from all the communities across the state,” said Karin Mac Donald, principal consultant of Q2 Data and Research, LLC in the report.
“We are fortunate to partner with Q2 Data & Research, LLC to provide line drawing services for the Commission redraw. Haystaq’s team is excited to bring our extensive nonpartisan redistricting experience to the Commission’s process,” stated Andrew Drechsler, president of HaystaqDNA.
Q2 Data & Research, LLC is a small, non-partisan, women-owned consulting firm located in Oakland, California. They specialize in redistricting and voting rights, election administration, census and election data, and research. They are affiliated with major research universities, at which they work, conduct research, and teach, and they only engage in open and transparent redistricting projects in which public participation is desired, according to the release. Q2 has a proven track record in assisting redistricting commissions with all tasks related to the redistricting process, including the implementation of the Federal Voting Rights Act and encouraging meaningful participation by the public.
Haystaq has worked on several redistricting projects, including US House and State Senate maps created and adopted by the Florida Supreme Court in 2015, as well as a friend of the court map they submitted for Pennsylvania in 2018 for fairer US Congressional maps. They have extensive experience with GIS mapping software and with all the data sources that are used in redistricting projects and Federal Voting Rights Act compliance, including census and election data. Haystaq founded the nonpartisan Redistricting Datahub project in 2018 — a project designed to encourage transparency and public participation by collecting, building, and disseminating (free of charge) redistricting data for each state in the US.
Every 10 years, after the federal government publishes updated census information, California must redraw the boundaries of its Congressional, State Senate, State Assembly, and State Board of Equalization districts so that the State’s population is evenly allocated among the new districts.
In November 2008, California voters passed the Voters FIRST Act, authorizing the creation of the independent Citizens Redistricting Commission to draw new district lines, taking the job out of the hands of the California Legislature and transferring it to the citizens. In 2010, the VOTERS FIRST Act for Congress added the responsibility of drawing Congressional districts to the Commission’s mandate.