On June 10th, the 2020 California Citizens Redistricting Commission (Commission) will launch the first in a series of Communities of Interest (COI) virtual hearings to capture community specific data that will help Commissioners to respect community boundaries to the best of their abilities when drawing district lines, as is mandated by California’s line drawing criteria.
When the Commission begins drawing maps using census data, they will need to follow this set of criteria, in this order, as outlined in the California Constitution.
- Districts must be of nearly equal population to comply with the U.S. Constitution.
- Districts must comply with the Voting Rights Act to ensure that minorities have a fair opportunity to elect representatives of their choice.
- Districts must be drawn contiguously, so that all parts of the district are connected to each other.
- Districts must minimize the division of counties, cities, neighborhoods, and communities of interest to the extent possible.
- Districts should be geographically compact such that nearby areas of population are not bypassed for more distant populations.
- Where practicable, each Senate District should consist of two complete and adjacent Assembly Districts, and Board of Equalization districts should consist of ten complete and adjacent State Senate Districts. This is known as nesting.
We can obtain the city and county information from those jurisdictions, but we need the neighborhood and communities of interest information from Californians directly.
“The Commission is excited to hear directly from Californians about their Communities of Interest during our initial COI input meeting on Thursday, June 10thfrom 12 – 8 PM. Although we have been accepting Communities of Interest submissions online since March, these virtual input sessions are yet another opportunity for communities to share with the Commission about their Communities of Interest,” stated Commission Chair Isra Ahmad.
During these input meetings, participants will be asked to describe their community and will be encouraged to consider highlighting the following:
- Begin with your county or city.
- Mention the street names and significant locations in your neighborhood to help us identify the parameters of your community.
- What are your shared interests?
- What brings you together?
- What is important to your community?
- Are there nearby areas you want to be in a district with?
- Nearby areas you don’t want to be in a district with? Why or why not?
- Has your community come together to advocate for important services, better schools, roads, or health centers in your neighborhood?
Registration is not required to participate in these public input meetings. The call-in number for public input on the day of each event will be (877)853-5247.
For more information regarding the June 10th event, please visit our website at: https://www.wedrawthelinesca.org/june_10_mtg. To view a full list of upcoming meetings, please visit: https://www.wedrawthelinesca.org/meetings. Additionally, Californians can skip the line and provide their input online by visiting: https://drawmycacommunity.org/. The online COI tool is available in fourteen languages and includes tutorials.
Every 10 years, after the federal government publishes updated census information, California must redraw the boundaries of its electoral districts so that the state’s population is evenly allocated among the new districts.
In 2008, California voters passed the Voters First Act, authorizing the creation of the independent California Citizens Redistricting Commission to draw new State Senate, State Assembly, and State Board of Equalization district lines. In 2010, the Voters First Act for Congress gave the Commission the responsibility of drawing new Congressional districts following every census.
For more information, please visit WeDrawTheLinesCA.org.