This week the Sacramento City Council approved language for a November referendum to create an independent redistricting commission to draw City Council districts. Following the successful efforts of the California Citizens Redistricting Commission to draw congressional, state legislative, and Board of Equalization districts based on nonpartisan criteria, municipalities are beginning to follow suit. If the council places the measure on the November ballot, which it is expected to do this summer, voters will have the opportunity to approve a transparent redistricting process that prioritizes fair representation for Sacramento residents over the manipulation of districts for political advantage.
The new commission would consist of 13 registered voters who have been Sacramento residents for at least 10 years or who have voted in two of the last three primary city elections. It would prohibit from service individuals and some of their family members who have made large and recent donations to city candidates and others with a relationship to city government that might demonstrate a personal stake in the outcome of the redistricting process. The proposal would prevent commissioners from benefiting from their own work by prohibiting them from running for city office for a period of 10 years. It would also prohibit for four years appointment to another city commission, working for a city elected official, receiving a noncompetitive contract with the city, or registration as a city lobbyist.
The proposal helps to ensure a diverse set of commissioners by working with a broad range of community organizations to encourage applications and by requiring the city clerk to create pools of applicants that reflect Sacramento’s diversity. The commission would be required to draw districts using neutral criteria and mandate that all communications it receives about drawing districts be public while ensuring robust public participation by making free mapping software available.
Issues: Voting and Elections