California is one of a growing number of states in the nation where an independent body of citizens – as opposed to the state legislature – drafts and adopts state legislative and Congressional maps using a transparent and public input process. The California Citizens Redistricting Commission (CRC) will begin its second redistricting cycle in 2021, and the selection process for the 14-member Commission is currently under way. Through the end of April, the California State Auditor’s Applicant Review Panel is conducting live, online interviews of 120 semi-finalists before choosing 60 finalists to be reviewed by the California Legislature.
History of the California Citizens Redistricting Commission…
In 2008, California Common Cause led a coalition that drafted and passed the historic Voters First Act, which took a significant step toward ending gerrymandering in California.
This ballot initiative stripped California legislators of the power to draw state legislative districts and created the Citizens Redistricting Commission (CRC). In 2010, we won again when Californians passed a separate initiative, the Voters First Act for Congress, that added congressional districts to the CRC’s mandate. The CRC is now a national model for redistricting reform that is the basis for proposals that will be on the ballot in several states this November.
What is the Citizens Redistricting Commission (CRC)?
The CRC is a 14-person Redistricting Commission consisting of five Democrats, five Republicans, and four people who are registered with neither of the two main parties. After every decennial Census, the CRC redraws California’s congressional, state legislative, and Board of Equalization lines based on Census data and comments from the public.
How are commissioners selected?
How does the CRC draw district lines?
The CRC is forbidden from drawing districts to benefit a party or candidate and cannot consider the addresses of incumbents or candidates. All commission deliberations must take place in public hearings and district lines must be drawn based on the following ranked criteria:
- Have equal population
- Comply with the Voting Rights Act
- Be contiguous
- Keep city and county boundary lines intact and preserve Communities of Interest
- Be geographically compact, where it does not conflict with the above criteria
- Nest 2 Assembly Districts in every Senate District, and nest 10 Senate Districts in every Board of Equalization District, where it does not conflict with the above criteria
Want to learn more?
For more information on the CA CRC, visit their website at www.wedrawthelines.ca.gov.