VIDEO LINKS AND QUOTES from Today’s Briefing: Anti-Gerrymandering Groups on Critical Redistricting Reform Legislation

Broad, statewide coalition unites in support of bills ahead of crucial hearings

A coalition of civil and voting rights groups briefed the media on AB 764 and AB 1248, legislation that would help end gerrymandering in the state and bring local redistricting into alignment with the standards that govern statewide and congressional redistricting.

A panel of experts detailed the urgent need for comprehensive, statewide reforms at every level of government, particularly for city councils and county boards of supervisors, ahead of crucial hearings for both bills.

Additionally, the author of a major report evaluating California’s 2020 local redistricting cycle, which found widespread gerrymandering to protect incumbents in city council and county board redistrictings, spoke to the research that helped inform the proposed bills now pending in the state legislature.

In case you missed today’s briefing, you can find the video link to the recording here.

Select quotes from the briefing, in order of speakers, are below. The full list of registered supporters of this legislation can also be found below. 

On the need for comprehensive statewide redistricting reform: 

“Gerrymandering has no place in our democracy. The scandal in Los Angeles pulled back the curtain on what it looks like when politicians slice and dice communities, sacrificing their empowerment and representation in order to boost their careers, help their friends, and hurt their enemies. 

Together, AB 764 and AB 1248 solve these problems and would make California the nationwide leader on fair, independent, transparent, inclusive, and community-centered redistricting.” said Jonathan Mehta Stein, Executive Director of California Common Cause, primary sponsor of AB 764 and AB 1248.

Regarding the community input that shaped AB 764 and AB 1248:

The “Promise of Fair Maps,” report is the most comprehensive report published on local redistricting in California to date and is the product of dozens of interviews with civic, community, and civil rights organizations that were collectively involved in more than 100 local redistrictings.

The Report concludes with 23 recommendations to improve the local redistricting process, many of which are reflected in the bills introduced by Assemblymember Bryan and Senator Allen,” said Nicolas Heidorn, author of “The Promise of Fair Maps,” which informed AB 764 and AB 1248.

On the need to strengthen current redistricting protections:

“AB 764 addresses these blatant efforts to use redistricting for anything other than to ensure fair representation by prohibiting line-drawers from adopting a map for the purpose of favoring or targetting an incumbent, and by clarifying that, after a new map is adopted, officials can continue to represent the districts from which they were elected,” said Julia A. Gomez, senior staff attorney with the ACLU of Southern California, primary sponsor of AB 764.

Regarding how redistricting reform increases equitable representation:

“Districts must be drawn in ways that promote the representation of all communities at every level of government. Otherwise, we end up with older, white people in charge who do not reflect the Latino people, AAPI people, Indigenous people, Black people, and youth, who together make up the majority of our state and who deserve representation of their unique communities.

We need to build on the success of the FAIR MAPS Act and expand the use of independent redistricting commissions to give diverse communities even more robust tools to ensure that their voices are heard, gerrymandering is eradicated, and our democracy can thrive,” said Dora Rose, deputy director of The League of Women Voters of California, primary sponsor of AB 764 and AB 1248.

On how independent redistricting strengthens our democracy:

“In San Francisco, many of us remember the litany of issues in the city’s redistricting saga: A major map switch at 3 AM. Important communities of interest split apart. Elected officials who pressured their appointed commissioners to draw lines a certain way. Issues that eroded public trust in the redistricting process.

Stories like this illustrate the importance of AB 764 and AB 1248 for the sake of our democracy. There is an urgent, urgent need to create more transparent, independent, and fair redistricting that invites the input of all Californians,” said Sietse Goffard, senior program coordinator, Voting Rights of Asian Law Caucus, primary sponsor of AB 764.

On the need for statewide independent redistricting commissions:

“Our experience in mobilizing community members to advocate for their communities and neighborhoods affirmed the bedrock importance of independent redistricting commissions. 

Through independent commissions, residents have a platform to share what unites their neighbors and communities. They are able to learn from each other to identify district lines that empower those most often disenfranchised and underrepresented by partisan mapping,” said Faith Lee, legislative director of Asian Americans Advancing Justice Southern California, primary sponsor of AB 1248.

Registered Support for AB 764:

  • ACLU California Action (Co-Sponsor) 
  • Asian Americans Advancing Justice – Asian Law Caucus (Co-Sponsor) 
  • California Common Cause (Co-Sponsor) 
  • League of Women Voters of California (Co-Sponsor) 
  • AAPIs for Civic Empowerment Education Fund (prior version) 
  • AFSCME (prior version) 
  • Alameda County Coalition for Fair Redistricting (prior version) 
  • Alliance San Diego (prior version) 
  • Asian Law Alliance (prior version) 
  • California Environmental Voters (formerly CLCV) 
  • Catalyst California Central Coast Alliance United for a Sustainable Economy (prior version) 
  • Communities for a New California (prior version) 
  • Communities United for Restorative Youth Justice (prior version) 
  • Community Health Councils (prior version) 
  • Courage California (prior version) 
  • Ella Baker Center for Human Rights (prior version) 
  • Indivisible CA Statestrong (prior version) 
  • Indivisible Marin (prior version)
  • Initiate Justice (prior version) 
  • Initiate Justice Action Inland Empire United (prior version) 
  • Inland Equity Partnership (prior version) 
  • Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights of the San Francisco Bay Area Oakland Rising Action (prior version) 
  • San Francisco Rising (prior version) 
  • Secure Justice (prior version) 
  • Silicon Valley Community Foundation (prior version) 
  • The Resistance Northridge-Indivisible (prior version) 
  • The Santa Monica Democratic Club (prior version) 
  • Thrive, the Alliance of Nonprofits for San Mateo County (prior version) 
  • Young Women’s Freedom Center 
  • 1 individual 

Registered Support for AB 1248:

  • Asian Americans Advancing Justice-Southern California (Co-Sponsor) 
  • California Common Cause (Co-Sponsor) 
  • League of Women Voters of California (Co-Sponsor) 
  • AAPIs for Civic Empowerment Education Fund 
  • ACLU California Action 
  • Alameda County Coalition for Fair Redistricting 
  • Alliance San Diego 
  • Asian Americans Advancing Justice – Asian Law Caucus 
  • Central Coast Alliance United for a Sustainable Economy 
  • Community Health Councils 
  • Courage California 
  • Dolores Huerta Foundation 
  • Ella Baker Center for Human Rights 
  • Indivisible CA Statestrong 
  • Initiate Justice 
  • Initiate Justice Action 
  • Inland Empire Immigrant Youth Collective 
  • Inland Empire United
  • Inland Equity Partnership 
  • League of Women Voters California 
  • San Francisco Rising 
  • Santa Monica Democratic Club 
  • The Resistance Northridge-Indivisible 
  • 3 individuals