What Does Redistricting Mean for You and Your Community?

Many of us completed the 2020 census. At final count, 99.9% of Californians were counted, one of the highest response rates in the state.We did our part and were counted, now what does the count mean for you and your community? 

We were informed during the 2020 count that the data collected is used to distribute federal funds to local communities.  Not only is the data used to secure much needed resources for our communities, but it also influences state, county, city redistricting, which is completed every decennial census, or every 10 years. 

But what is redistricting? How does it impact us? Read on to learn more!

What is redistricting?

Redistricting is the process used by governments to redraw political district boundaries every ten years after the Census. The way the lines are drawn can keep a community together or split it apart, leaving it without a representative who feels responsible for its concerns. Redistricting can also determine who wins elections, who controls the legislature and which laws get passed. 

Communities change overtime, and with new census data, district lines need to be redrawn, so all districts have equal size populations. 

Redistricting applies to all levels of government, including the U.S. House of Representatives, state legislatures, city councils, school boards, county boards, judicial, water districts, and more.

In the County of San Diego, it is important for citizens to understand how redistricting will impact their communities and how they can become involved in the redistricting process State, County and City wide. 

 How does redistricting impact me and my community? 

How district lines are drawn determines which communities are heard and whose interests are represented.

We all have issues we care about: healthcare, climate change, affordable housing, criminal justice reform. The people that make decisions about these issues are often elected officials —but how can we ensure that they fight for us?

Redistricting gives us the opportunity to say who does and does not make up our district - our community. When we keep our communities together, we have more power to tell our stories, fight for our causes, and choose leaders to champion them. 

When our districts look like our community, our political power matches our people power.   

Vanessa Green, MA, is the census and redistricting fellow at Alliance San Diego.