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5 Things to Know About Redistricting in California

September 20, 2021 Guides & Reports

Author

Adria Orr

Adria Orr

Senior Program Coordinator, Voting Rights

Adria Orr

Senior Program Coordinator, Voting Rights

Adria is the Senior Program Coordinator on the Voting Rights and Census team at Advancing Justice – ALC. Her work includes leading our poll monitoring program and providing community education on voting rights-related topics. She previously worked in online fundraising with an interest in mechanisms of democratizing philanthropy, particularly crowdfunding and peer-to-peer fundraising. During graduate school, this interest evolved into a passion for broader structural changes aimed at redistributing power within democratic systems of government.

Raised in the Bay Area as the daughter of immigrants from Hong Kong and Macau, she spent about a decade on the East Coast in Rhode Island, Washington DC, and New York City before returning to her home state. She holds a BA in Development Studies from Brown University and an MPA from NYU Wagner with a specialization in Advocacy and Political Action.

1. Redistricting only happens once every 10 years—just like a meteor shower or solar eclipse, you don’t want to miss it.

Redistricting is an opportunity to make sure your community is represented fairly in the government. Right now, California is redrawing the lines that determine who will represent you in Congress, state Assembly, state Senate, and the state Board of Equalization.

2. The new district lines will determine whether your community can elect people who truly understand and represent you.

The maps that come out of redistricting determine which communities are grouped together to choose their elected representatives. Being in a district with people who have similar interests makes it easier to elect people who understand your shared perspectives and needs.

3. Keeping your community together in the new maps will help you make the changes you want in your neighborhood.

District lines can be drawn to amplify some voices while muting others. Suppose your community is divided into multiple districts. For the next ten years, it will be much harder to get any single elected official to prioritize what matters to your community—whether it’s safer roads in your neighborhood or better schools for your kids.

4. California’s redistricting process is one of the most transparent in the country.

District maps need to be updated with new population information from the 2020 Census. This way each elected official will represent equal numbers of Californians. But it's not just a numbers game. Our statewide redistricting process is citizen-led and all meetings are public so that community members can be directly involved. In fact, the commission must accept feedback from the public when making their decisions.

5. You can draw a map of your own community, and the Commission will actually consider it when they draw the new district lines.

The California Citizens Redistricting Commission needs to hear from you about your community. You can use an online tool to draw a map and explain what brings you together, write to the Commission with a description, or attend regional hearings to weigh in on your community. You can also work with a local organization to help you draft testimony and draw a map of your community for the Commission to consider. Attend a line-drawing meeting where you can follow the Commission's progress and weigh in on draft maps!

Now that you’re an expert, we need you to get involved in redistricting this year! Learn more about state redistricting and local redistricting and help us build power for our communities: