2020 Citizens Redistricting Commission

Application & Selection Process

California voters authorized the creation of the Citizens Redistricting Commission (Commission) when they passed the Voters FIRST Act (Act) in 2008. The Act requires the State Auditor to initiate and implement an application process for selecting the 14 members of the Commission.

Californians were able to apply for the 2020 Commission if they meet the minimum eligibility requirements:

  • Have been a registered voter since July 1, 2015 (check voter registration status);
  • Have been registered without a, or "independent" of any, political party (decline-to-state or no party preference) or registered with the same political party since July 1, 2015; and
  • Voted in at least two of the last three statewide general elections.

However, an applicant is ineligible to serve on the Commission if the applicant has a conflict of interest as defined by the Act within the 10 years prior to submitting an application.

You can find more information about the timeline for the application and selection process with this flowchart (PDF). Additionally, these frequently asked questions about the application and selection process will describe the subsequent phases to the process.

General Overview and Time Frames Graphic (PDF)

Application Timelines and Selection Process Flowchart (PDF)

Who selects the Commission?
  • The Applicant Review Panel (panel) reviews qualified application materials to identify and interview 120 of the most qualified applicants—40 from each of the three subpools (Democrat, Republican & Neither Democrat or Republican)
  • All panel actions, including applicant interviews, occur during public meetings, which will be live-streamed and accessible to the public.
  • The panel will identify 60 of the most qualified applicants—20 from each subpool—and submit the list of 60 names to the four legislative leaders.
  • The four Legislative leaders can each remove up to two applicants from each of the three subpools. Thus, up to eight names can be removed from each subpool.
  • The remaining names are returned to the California State Auditor, who randomly selects the first eight commissioners.
  • Those eight commissioners select the remaining six to establish the 14-member 2020 Citizens Redistricting Commission.
What is the Supplemental Application?
What is the time period for submitting supplemental applications?

The period for submitting supplemental applications is currently scheduled to begin on August 21, 2019, and end on September 20, 2019. All applicants who are eligible to complete a supplemental application will receive an email inviting them to do so.

How many Panel members' votes are needed to remove an applicant from the applicant pool?

Panel decisions relating to the removal of an applicant from the applicant pool, or the reconsideration of a decision to remove an applicant from the applicant pool, may only be made by a unanimous vote of all three Panel members.

What materials must be submitted in a supplemental application package?

The supplemental application will ask applicants to submit written responses to questions designed to elicit information describing an applicant's qualifications to serve on the Commission. Additional questions will ask the applicant about former names, former residences, and felony convictions, if any; educational and employment history; involvements with, and contributions to, professional, social, political, volunteer, and community organizations and causes; and immediate family members. Applicants will also be required to submit three letters of recommendation. A portion of applicants remaining in the applicant pool, who the Panel believes may be invited to an interview will also be asked to submit a Statement of Economic Interests (Form 700).

How much time will I be given to prepare and submit the supplemental application and letters of recommendation?

To help applicants prepare their supplemental application materials, a general version of the supplemental application will be posted on the ShapeCaliforniasFuture website approximately 30 days before the supplemental application period begins. Applicants who wish to continue the process must submit a supplemental application and letters of recommendation no later than September 20, 2019 in order to remain in the pool of applicants being considered for selection.

Can I submit supplemental materials with my initial application?

No, only applicants whose initial applications have not been rejected will be invited to submit supplemental materials. Supplemental application materials will only be accepted during the 30-day supplemental application period.

Letters of Recommendation
When may letters of recommendation be submitted?

While you may begin the process of gathering letters of recommendation at anytime, letters of recommendation may only be submitted during the time period for submitting supplemental applications. The period for submitting supplemental applications is currently scheduled to begin on August 21, 2019, and end on September 20, 2019 to be considered.

May letters of recommendation be submitted through the website?

Yes, online submission of letters of recommendation is preferred. Applicants who are invited to submit a supplemental application will be provided three links to provide to the individuals who will be submitting letters of recommendation on their behalf. Each link may be used for only one letter and will expire upon that letter's submission. Remember to communicate to the individuals writing your letters of recommendation that their letters must include your applicant identification number if not submitted via the website.

May letters of recommendation be submitted using any other method?

While online submission of letters of recommendation is preferred, letters of recommendation may also be submitted via the following methods:

  • Email to shapecaliforniasfuture@auditor.ca.gov;
  • Facsimile to (888) 694-5288; or
  • U.S. Mail or other common carrier mailed to the following address:
    Applicant Review Panel
    c/o California State Auditor's Office
    621 Capitol Mall, Suite 1200
    Sacramento, California, 95814

All letters of recommendation submitted via email, facsimile, U.S. Mail, or other common carrier must include the applicant's application identification number.

Can more than three letters of recommendation concerning an applicant be submitted?

In the event the State Auditor receives more than three letters of recommendation concerning an applicant, only the first three letters received will be forwarded to the Panel for consideration as letters of recommendation. Additional letters will be considered public comments.

Who should submit letters of recommendation, and how long can they be?

Letters of recommendation may be from individuals or organizations and should come from those who can attest to the qualifications that you believe will make you a good Commission member. Each letter of recommendation may be no longer than 12,800 characters, or about three pages.

What makes a good letter of recommendation?

Typically, letters of recommendation have three sections. The first section is usually for the person writing the recommendation to explain who they are and in what capacity they are writing the letter. In addition, the first section of the letter introduces the applicant and how long the recommender has known the applicant. The second section is typically used for explaining the qualities of the person being recommended and to set out their accomplishments. Specific examples are helpful. It is also important for the person making the recommendation to describe their experience with the person receiving the recommendation. The third section is typically used to summarize the qualities of the applicant and to reinforce their positive attributes.

It is important to know your references and to ask their permission to use them to write the recommendations. You need responsive people who attest to the qualifications that you believe will make you a good Commission member. It is also important to have a good idea of what they are going to say about you and your qualifications. Overall, good letters of recommendations show both strengths and weaknesses, are detailed, insightful, and professional. They should provide important insight into your character, integrity, and motivation for applying to serve on the Citizens Redistricting Commission. They should also address your ability to be impartial, relevant analytical skills, and appreciation for California's diversity.

Can letters of recommendation be written in non-English languages?

Letters of recommendation written in foreign languages will be accepted; however, we require that for any such letter to be considered, it must be accompanied by a certified English translation performed by a certified interpreter. There are many commercial translating service companies available to perform such translations for a fee. Translation is essential for both the Panel and members of the public to be able to understand and evaluate the content of the letters.

How do I verify that my letters of recommendation have been received?

You will receive an email shortly after we upload each letter into our system or receive it electronically. After a letter is uploaded, you may log in to your application and find a note that the letter has been received. You may also call 833-421-7550 or email shapecaliforniasfuture@auditor.ca.gov if you have not received confirmation that your letters have been received. Given the high volume of emails and phone calls that are anticipated as the deadline draws near, we recommend resubmitting the letter of recommendation if you have not received a confirmation.

Why does the supplemental application request information about members of my family?

Government Code section 8252 prescribes a series of conflict of interest rules intended to prohibit any applicant from serving on the Commission if the applicant, or a member of the applicant's immediate family, has engaged in any activities that may indicate the applicant is too closely connected with the Legislature, the Governor, or partisan politics to be able to draw district lines impartially. In order to effectively screen out applicants who are ineligible to serve as members of the Commission due to the activities of their family members, it is essential that those reviewing the applications know who an applicant's family members are, where they live, where they work, and whether they have engaged in any of the activities that would cause an applicant to have a disqualifying conflict of interest.

Should I list all my immediate family members, or only those with whom I have a bona fide, or special, relationship?

The supplemental application requires you to list all immediate family members, meaning all living parents, spouses, registered domestic partners, children, siblings, parents-in-law, siblings-in-law, sons- and daughters-in-law, as well as step-parents, step-children, and step-siblings, regardless whether you have a bona fide, or special, relationship with any of them. For each family member you list, you will then be asked whether you have a bona fide, or special, relationship with that family member, and whether that family member engaged in any activity that could cause you to have a conflict of interest.

Am I required to provide information for family members listed on the application if the family members reside outside of California or the United States?

Yes, family members having one of the relationships listed on the application must be reported regardless of where they reside.

What are some examples of non-monetary contributions?

Non-monetary contributions include any donated goods, services, time spent performing services, or discounts. For example, a donation of goods to be used as prizes for a raffle is considered a non-monetary contribution.

Are union dues considered financial contributions that need to be reported?

Union dues are not considered financial contributions that need to be reported.

Am I required to report financial contributions of less than $250 if the contributions, in the aggregate over a year, exceed $250?

Yes. Contributions should be reported if the aggregate amount in one year exceeds $250.

Form 700 (Financial Disclosures)
Are all applicants required to submit a Statement of Economic Interests (Form 700)?

No. Per section 60848 of the regulations, the Panel will identify those applicants it considers likely to be among the 120 of the most qualified applicants to be considered for interviews, and request those applicants to submit a Statement of Economic Interests (Form 700) within a period of 30 days. Thus, not all applicants are required to submit a Form 700.

Why am I required to submit a Statement of Economic Interests (Form 700)?

The purpose of the Form 700 is to require individuals to disclose any economic interests that may give rise to a conflict of interest. This information is used to investigate or verify any aspect of an individual's application concerning his or her qualifications to serve on the Commission. All commissioners and state officials must complete these forms annually or upon appointment.

Where can I find additional information on how to fill out Statement of Economic Interests (Form 700)?

Additional information on how to fill out the Form 700 can be found on the website of the Fair Political Practices Commission. The Fair Political Practices Commission provides a number of helpful resources, including an FAQ on how to fill out the Statement of Economic Interests. The Fair Political Practices Commission also provides advice, which can be obtained by emailing advice@fppc.ca.gov or by calling 1-866-ASK-FPPC (1-866-275-3772). Telephone advice is available Monday through Thursday from 9:00 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.

Will applicants be subject to a background check?

Section 60842 of the regulations provides all information provided by or about an applicant through an application, public comment, or by any other means may be subject to investigation and verification by the State Auditor or the Panel. Applicants are thus subject to having any aspect of their backgrounds investigated whenever an issue arises as to whether some portion of an applicant's background impacts the applicant's qualifications to serve on the Commission. However, a financial/credit check of applicants is not expected to be a routine part of the application process.

Will there be Interviews?
What happens after the supplemental application?

The Panel will meet in public hearings to identify 120 of the most qualified applicants. Those remaining applicants will be invited to participate in interviews with the Panel. Thereafter, the Panel will identify 60 of the most qualified candidates to submit to the Legislature. The 60 most qualified candidates will be comprised of 20 applicants who are registered with the largest political party in California based on registration (Democratic Party), 20 applicants who are registered with the second largest political party in California based on registration (Republican Party), and 20 applicants who are not registered with either of the two largest political parties in California based on registration.

When will interviews be scheduled?

Interviews for 120 of the most qualified candidates are anticipated to be scheduled between February 18, 2020 and April 20, 2020. Once applicants are notified that they have been invited for an interview, applicants will be notified and instructed on how to sign up for interview slots on a first come, first served basis.

Where will interviews be held, and how long will they last?

Interviews will be conducted in Sacramento and will be scheduled to last approximately 90 minutes.

Who will interview the applicants?

During the interviews, questions may be asked by members of the Panel, Panel staff, and legal counsel for the Panel. The questions may concern anything that is relevant to an applicant's eligibility and qualifications to serve on the Commission. In addition, because an interview before the Panel is considered an open public meeting, it will be live-streamed and accessible to the public.

Can interviews be conducted via telephone or video-conferencing?

Interviews via telephone or video-conferencing are currently not permitted.

If selected for an interview, will my travel expenses be reimbursed?

Section 60849 of the regulations directs the State Auditor to pay or reimburse the reasonable and actual expenses for an applicant to attend an interview. Such expenses may include airfare or other transportation expenses, as well as living expenses. An applicant may request a reasonable advance if incurring the expenses creates an undue financial hardship.

The State Auditor's Office has determined that reimbursement at the state rate applicable for excluded employees is reasonable for travel within California. Applicants are responsible for their travel costs that exceed state rates and for any expenses for travel to and from a location outside California.

What questions will be asked in the interview?

Applicants scheduled for interviews will be informed in advance of the basic questions that will be asked of all applicants, but should expect additional questions as the Panel and legal counsel deem appropriate.

What is the Legislature's Role?
What happens after the interviews?

The Panel will meet in public hearings to identify 60 of the most qualified candidates. The Panel will transmit the list of 60 candidates and their application materials to the Legislature. Transmission of the list must be performed no later than May 15, 2020. The list will be comprised of 20 applicants who are registered with the largest political party in California based on registration (Democratic Party), 20 applicants who are registered with the second largest political party in California based on registration (Republican Party), and 20 applicants who are not registered with either of the two largest political parties in California based on registration.

Between May 15, 2020 and June 30, 2020, the President pro Tempore of the Senate, the Minority Floor Leader of the Senate, the Speaker of the Assembly, and the Minority Floor Leader of the Assembly each may strike up to two names from each sub-pool, for a total of 24 strikes, and will return the list of remaining applicants to the State Auditor.

How are the First Eight Commissioners selected?
How are the first eight commissioners selected?

The State Auditor will randomly draw the names of the first eight Commission members from the remaining list of the most qualified candidates. The random drawing must be performed no later than July 5, 2020. The State Auditor will randomly draw three names from each of the two sub-pools consisting of applicants registered with California's the two major political parties based on registration (Democratic Party and Republican Party), and two names from the remaining sub-pool of applicants who are not registered with either of the two largest political parties.

How is the random drawing conducted?

Section 60825 of the regulations sets forth precise details describing how the drawing will be conducted. In short, the drawing will make use of newly purchased, pre-numbered bingo balls of uniform composition, weight, size, shape, and texture, that will be delivered to the location of the drawing in the manufacturer's original packaging. The number on each ball will be assigned to a name. The balls for each drawing will be placed in a bingo cage, which will be rotated vigorously. The cage will drop numbered balls and that number will correspond to an applicant's name. The numbers and names of the persons drawn will be announced and duly recorded.

Will the random drawing be broadcast or recorded?

Yes. Section 60825 of the regulations provides at least ten days prior to the random drawing, the State Auditor will provide notice to the public regarding the time and place of the drawing. The drawing is open to the public, and will be video-recorded and live-streamed.

How will The First Eight Commissioners Select the Remaining Six Commissioners?
How are the final six commissioners selected?

The eight Commission members who were randomly selected will review the application materials of the applicants remaining in the applicant pool. The members may also seek additional information from the applicants remaining in the applicant pool, including asking an applicant to submit written responses to questions or to participate in an additional interview. As the final six members of the commission shall be chosen to ensure the commission reflects California's diversity, as well as on the basis of relevant analytical skills and ability to be impartial, the first eight members of the commission shall vote to select the final six members of the commission as a slate of six applicants. Thereafter, the first eight members will vote to select the final six members of the Commission. The final six members will consist of two applicants registered with the largest political party based on registration (Democratic Party), two applicants registered with the second largest political party based on registration (Republican Party), and two applicants not registered with either of those two parties. The six appointees shall be chosen to ensure the commission reflects this state's diversity.

Are the final six Commission members chosen by unanimous vote?

No. Section 60860 of the regulations states the final six Commission members must be approved as a slate of six by at least five out of the first eight Commission members.

Is there an Opportunity for Public Input?
May members of the public provide public comment on any of the applicants?

Yes. Section 60846 of the California Code of Regulations permits members of the public to submit written comments regarding the applicants being considered, beginning from the date the names are posted through the remainder of the application process.

How can I submit a public comment?

The ShapeCaliforniasFuture website will provide a form for submitting written comments. The public may submit comments electronically or by facsimile, United States mail, or other common carrier.

Will all comments be considered?

Section 60846 of the regulations states all comments will be considered if received prior to the deadline established by the State Auditor applicable to the current phase of the application process. In addition, the comment must be sufficiently credible; must contain specific facts related to an applicant's eligibility and qualifications; or is related to the accuracy of any statement made by the applicant as part of the application process.

Comments must also include the name and contact information of the person providing the comment, as well as a certification by the commenter that the information included is true and correct and based on the author's personal knowledge.

Will comments be posted online?

Yes. Comments for the Panel's consideration, including the name of the commenter, will be posted as soon as practicable, unless the State Auditor's Office deems the content offensive or the comment is otherwise exempt under the California Public Records Act. However, comments must be professional.

Will applicants have the opportunity to respond to public comments?

Yes. Applicants will receive a copy of any written comments received about the applicant, and be given an opportunity to submit a written response. The comment and response will be included in the applicant's application materials.

Can applicants submit a Request for Reconsideration?
Can I request reconsideration of a decision to remove me from the applicant pool?

Section 60851 of the regulations permit an applicant who is removed from the applicant pool to request reconsideration of the decision. A request for reconsideration may be made if the request is made in a timely manner, and the reason for removal was due to a conflict of interest, failing to meet a minimum eligibility requirement, or failing to comply with a procedural requirement of the application process. All other Panel decisions are final.

How may an applicant request reconsideration?

Requests for reconsideration must be submitted via the ShapeCaliforniasFuture website, and must be made within 10 days after issuance of notice of the applicant's removal. The request must include a statement of facts, with supporting evidence, demonstrating the removal was in error, as well as a certification that the facts alleged in the request for reconsideration are true and correct.

Can applicants Withdraw their Application?
How do I withdraw my application?

Applicants may request to withdraw from the application process through the ShapeCaliforniasFuture website. Once a request is made, the applicant will be contacted to confirm that the applicant has, in fact, made the request and understands that the withdrawal is final. Once confirmation is received, the applicant's application will be removed from the pool of eligible applicants.

What is the Privacy / Record Retention for applications?
Will names of the applicants be posted online?

Yes. Section 60845 of the regulations requires the State Auditor to post the names of all applicants who are eligible to move on to the supplemental application.

Are my application materials considered public records?

Yes. According to section 60842 of the regulations, all application materials maintained by the State Auditor are public records and subject to disclosure under the California Public Records Act, unless exempted from disclosure by a state or federal law.

How long will my application materials be retained?

Section 60835 of the regulations requires the State Auditor to retain the records concerning the application process, including correspondence, applicant lists, applications and supporting materials, public comments and responses, and video recordings, for a period of at least 12 years.

Will my application materials be posted online?

Section 60842 of the regulations require the State Auditor to post application materials on the website as soon as practicable. However, the State Auditor may redact, or decline to post, any of the following:

  • Material that is personal in nature, such as residence addresses, telephone numbers, or information that is so private that it would be inappropriate for public disclosure;
  • Material that is offensive or harassing in nature due to sexual, profane, racist, or otherwise bigoted content; or
  • Material that is exempt from disclosure for any reason under the California Public Records Act or whose disclosure is prohibited by some other state or federal law.

It is important to note that material that is not posted on the website may still be considered a public record under the California Public Records Act, and may be produced in response to a Public Records Act request unless otherwise exempt from disclosure under state or federal law.

If I am selected for an interview, will the interview be posted online?

Section 60849 of the regulations requires the Panel to record all of the interviews and post the recordings on the ShapeCaliforniasFuture website as soon as practicable after each interview is completed. Interviews will also be live-streamed and occur during a public, open meeting of the Panel.

Will application materials for those eliminated from the applicant pool continue to be posted online?

When an applicant is eliminated from the applicant pool, the applicant's application materials will be removed from the ShapeCaliforniasFuture website. However, if the material is copied or stored by a third party entity, it may be posted to that entity's website. For example, material may be recorded and made available by the Internet Archive or other archiving establishment.

Can I request that my application materials be removed from the website?

According to section 60842 of the regulations, all application materials maintained by the State Auditor are public records and subject to disclosure under the California Public Records Act even if they are not posted on the ShapeCaliforniasFuture website. For this reason, to request removal of application materials from the ShapeCaliforniasFuture website, an applicant must first withdraw his or her application to serve on the Commission. However, as stated above, if the material is copied or stored by a third party entity, it may be posted to that entity's website, without the State Auditor's knowledge and the State Auditor has no control over that information.

Will any portion of the application process be video-recorded or live-streamed?

Yes, the random drawings to choose Panel members, as well as the first eight Commission members, and all public meetings held by the Panel and the Commission, including all Panel decisions and interviews, will be video-recorded and live-streamed.

Need Reasonable Accommodations?

If you need a reasonable accommodation in order to participate in the Commission application and selection process, please contact us, toll free, at 1-833-421-7550, or send an email specifying the accommodation you are requesting to shapecaliforniasfuture@auditor.ca.gov, or send a letter specifying the accommodation you are requesting to the address below.

Mail:

Shape California's Future
California State Auditor
621 Capitol Mall, Suite 1200
Sacramento, CA 95814