Redistricting: Digging a Little Deeper

This is the second installment of blogs on the California Redistricting Commision. Check out the first here

Last week we spoke about redistricting; what it is and the way it impacts our communities. Now, let’s dig a little deeper on redistricting and some next steps.

Who decides?

All Californians DO!  

Well, technically, in California, congressional districts, state legislative districts, and state board of equalization districts are decided by the California Citizens Redistricting Commission with input from the community.  Additionally, all maps must comply with certain legal requirements.

Local redistricting at the county and city levels is decided either by an independent citizens commission or by the elected officials. However, community input is still required in local redistricting decisions, and under California state law, maps must also comply with certain legal requirements, for more information, check out bill AB-849 Elections: city and county redistricting.

Whether we are talking about state or local redistricting, communities have an important role in  redistricting. Community input is required for all redistricting in California, while elected leaders or commissions have final approval of maps (subject to compliance with legal requirements), in some jurisdictions.

Ok, it’s important, now what? How do I get involved?

You have the opportunity to get involved in a number of ways. First, by sharing your story about why representation matters to your community, you can help identify Communities of Interest (COI) in your area. Some redistricting guidelines provide protections for some COI’s, which might be new or have grown in your area since the last redistricting process. 

The California Citizens Redistricting Commission and your local Independent Redistricting Commissions need to hear from you to make sense of the census data scheduled to be released to every state — including California — in September 2021. As we all know, data alone doesn’t give a full picture of what it’s like in our communities and what our communities need.  Your story can help Commissioners interpret census data and also help guide drawing of districts. 

You can get involved by attending hearings and sharing your story in the statewide or local  redistricting process. If you want to know where you should go, please get in contact with Alliance San Diego and our team can direct you to the right place(s).

Second, you can join  with Alliance San Diego to advocate for more equitable districts. Alliance San Diego, in coalition  with other  community organizations, can help with information, resources and support you in being a part of the redistricting process. 

Vanessa Green, MA, is the Census and Redistricting Fellow for Alliance San Diego.