IMPERIAL COUNTY — California voters decided in 2008 to take redistricting out of politicians control and as a result, the 2020 California Citizens Redistricting commissioner was formed. Commissioners Patricia Sinay and Isra Ahmad explained how and why the Commission originated; what redistricting means; the process for redistricting; and the importance of community outreach during the Commission’s current phase of the redistricting process.
Though the Commission has not yet received data from the 2020 Census, it is still working through its redistricting process, where it is currently in the outreach phase. Sinay and Ahmad expressed the Commission’s desire to receive public input to determine how best to keep communities together and best draw district lines to ensure the public’s best interest.
With Commission meetings being open to the public, the Commission encourages input across the State and offers other tools for communicating desires, concerns, and questions — including its Community of Interest Tool.
“We are ecstatic to announce the launch of the COI tool, which will make participating in the redistricting process that much easier,” said Chair Pedro Toledo. “The best part is that Californians do not have to wait to attend a public input meeting to submit testimony.”
The Commission’s website defines a community of interest as a population sharing common social and economic interests that should be included in a single district.
The highly encouraged tool can be used to capture information, including community names, shared interest and priorities of that community, nearby areas to consider including or excluding in a district, and any other information to provide the commissioners insight as to how best to redraw the lines.
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.
California voters passed the Voters FIRST Act in 2008, creating the independent Citizens Redistricting Commission to draw new district lines, taking the job out of the hands of the California Legislature. The Voters FIRST Act for Congress added the responsibility of drawing Congressional districts to the Commission’s mandate in 2010.
The Commission at that time felt it would be beneficial and more efficient to allow future commissions more time for this process and outlined how to process the task differently in the future, according to Sinay. She said because of the previous commission’s efforts, the redistricting effort from the 2020 Census would hopefully be better, more efficient, and better serve the communities of California.
According to Ahmad, the benefits of an independent redistricting commission are many, but perhaps the most important is that all of the Commission’s actions and efforts are done in the public eye and are done with the best intention of the citizens of the various communities throughout the State.
With 14 enlisted to serve on the Commission, it is made up of a variety of ethnicities, religions, races, genders, and political party preference — five Democrats, five Republicans, and four from neither of those parties. Ahmad said the variety of people serving on the Commission was somewhat intentional, and the process to be chosen for the Commission was rigorous and required several different steps.
Based on guidance from the Voters FIRST Act, the Commission has six strict criteria to follow when redrawing the district lines and must complete several different phases of the redistricting process before proposing a redrawn map — which is expected to be ready by December of this year.
California Citizens #Redistricting Commission to hold a #RedistrictingBasics Presentation, on Tuesday, #April20, 2021, at 2:00 PM. It will be live streamed at: https://t.co/Dc8EtRvndR. Let us know you’re coming:https://t.co/z8iwPQY6d0 https://t.co/IsRGMhKymA via @GaryDaigneault1— WeDrawTheLinesCA (@WeDrawTheLines) April 15, 2021
Join us on Google Meet today at 12 for our April Virtual Luncheon. Today we welcome Ms. Jane Andersen from the California Citizens Redistricting Commission , We Draw the Lines CA.https://t.co/vfNLESDuab #RidgecrestTogether #buildingcommunity #strengtheningtheeconomy pic.twitter.com/7rUkMojVBZ— Ridgecrest Chamber (@rcchamber) April 13, 2021
Join the California Citizens #Redistricting #Commission for a #RedistrictingBasics presentation to learn about redistricting, why it is important, how it affects you and how to participate in the process. Tuesday, April 20, 2021 at 2pm pic.twitter.com/MiBXUzIQ08— WeDrawTheLinesCA (@WeDrawTheLines) April 13, 2021
Now Hiring: CHIEF COUNSEL, CITIZENS REDISTRICTING COMMISSION at California Citizens Redistricting Commission, State of California (Sacramento, CA) https://t.co/URFJZPB6Sv #inhousecounsel #corporatecounsel #lawtwitter— GoInhouse® (@goinhouse) April 12, 2021
How does redistricting affect you? Visit the California Citizens Redistricting Commission's website to find out: https://t.co/YmKmIuyDS9.#wedrawthelines #Redistricting #state #assembly #senate #AD #SD #BOE #congress #census #civicengagement #fairrepresentation pic.twitter.com/yS8VHIIs1j— Senator Tom Umberg (@SenatorUmberg) April 11, 2021
How does #redistricting affect you? Visit the California Citizens Redistricting Commission's @WeDrawTheLines website to find out: https://t.co/ycoX1O6ruT.#fairrepresentation pic.twitter.com/6jbnxWClMM— Charitable Ventures (@CharVentures) April 9, 2021
Fredy Ceja , California Citizens Redistricting Commission: “If we’re still looking at a December deadline for candidate filing, that’s not going to happen.”https://t.co/jU28pW5AKW— WeDrawTheLinesCA (@WeDrawTheLines) April 8, 2021