The California Independent Citizen Redistricting Commission (CRC) was established in 2008 by California voters with the passage of the Voters FIRST Act, which took the job of redistricting out of the hands of the California Legislature and transferred it to the people. For the CRC to draft fair and representative Congressional, State Senate, State Assembly, and Board of Equalization district maps, we need communities to tell us about themselves and we also need 2020 Census data.
States traditionally receive Census data by March 15. This year because of delays due to the pandemic, the Census Bureau announced that Census data used for redistricting would be delivered to states by September 30, 2021. The six-month Census data delay would make it impossible for the CRC to certify maps by the original deadline of August 15. As the nation began to shut down early last year because of COVID-19, California anticipated our deadlines would be derailed and provided a judicial extension for the CRC to conduct its redistricting responsibilities.
The CRC is working to create a new deadline for when the CRC must submit its final maps. We are working to develop a timeline that includes significant public input in the process and will take into account the pending deadlines for the 2022 elections.
While we patiently wait for the arrival of United States Census data, Californians will have more time to provide the CRC with key testimony about their communities, including identifying how they are connected, where they are located, and if it is important to remain in the same district. On April 26, 2021, the U.S. Census Bureau released reapportionment numbers, the process of dividing the 435 memberships, or seats, in the U.S. House of Representatives among the 50 states, announcing that California would be assigned 52 congressional seats, one less than we currently have. When drawing new electoral maps, the Commission must respect the boundaries of counties, cities and communities of interest, to the best of their ability.
The CRC is committed to creating an open, accessible, and transparent process for ALL Californians. To achieve this, we need you to describe your Communities of Interest (COI). Communities are groups of people with shared values and interests. Communities of interest can be a group of any size whose members share cultural, economic, historical, and/or other shared interests. They are the people with who you work, play, and live. A community by geography is defined by place. A community by identity is defined by attributes. A community by affinity is defined by what we like. Individuals can belong to more than one community.
For the first time, you can submit Communities of Interest input to the CRC through the Communities of Interest Mapping Tool (COI Tool), which is available at: www.DrawMyCACommunity.org. With a click of a mouse, this tool allows you to describe, draw, and send your input to the Commission. It is available to all Californians in multiple languages.
We encourage you to talk with our neighbors and others in your communities to identify what makes your community special? What is your community’s identity? And what are the issues that bind you together? The CRC will use these community maps along with the Census data to draw the lines for 176 districts – 4 State Boards of Equalization, 40 State Senate, 80 State Assembly, and 52 Congressional.
We invite you to visit our website for more information about the CRC, the redistricting process and our upcoming business meetings: www.WeDrawTheLinesCA.org. There you will find our Community of Interest Tool, where you can electronically submit a map and tell us your story. If you prefer paper and pen, you will soon have the option to submit a paper Community of Interest form.
Don’t pass up this opportunity to have your voice heard. This process only happens once every ten years.
We look forward to hearing from you soon.