Role of the Commissioner
The Citizens Redistricting Commission (Commission) is a 14-member commission that Californians created by passing the Voters FIRST Act in the November 2008 general election and the VOTERS FIRST Act for Congress in the November 2010 general election. The 14 commissioners are responsible for establishing the geographic boundaries for California's Congressional districts, State Assembly districts, State Senate districts, and State Board of Equalization districts so that they comply with applicable laws and contain reasonably equal populations. These adjusted district boundaries will stay in effect for the subsequent 10-year period.
The Commission will have one year to determine and approve the district maps starting no later than August 15, 2020 and ending August 15, 2021 when the final maps must be presented to the Secretary of State for certification. During this time period, the commissioners will be performing complex tasks that include, but are not limited to, the following:
- Draw District Lines: The primary function of the Commission is to draw the Congressional, State Senate, State Assembly, and State Board of Equalization district lines. These four maps will be the product of the redistricting process after public debate and compromise through different iterations of proposed district maps.
- Hold Public Meetings: Any meeting involving at least nine commissioners must be in a public meeting environment. As the commissioners perform their important work drawing district lines, they will be holding public meetings throughout the State. In these public meetings, the commissioners will solicit and receive public input as they determine which communities share common interests and should share common representation. During the hearings, testimony and presentations may be lengthy. Each meeting will require multiple members of the Commission to attend and many meetings will likely be conducted in the evenings and on weekends to allow for greater public participation in this important process.
- Research and Analyze: The commissioners will also be reviewing and discussing pertinent data used to set geographic boundaries for districts. This information includes the 2020 census data from which the districts will be drawn, computer modeling of the census data to create potential districts, the public input discussed above, and the discussion and compromise that accompanies such an important process, that will impact California for 10 years.
- Hire Support Staff: The commissioners will be very busy performing their duties, so they will hire administrative and support staff as needed. Some of the Commission's tasks will include: drafting and promulgating regulations; appointing a staff director; scheduling meetings and hearings, and notifying interested parties; maintaining records of the Commission's deliberations; overseeing payroll, travel reimbursements, equipment purchases, and maintenance; and communicating with individuals who request information regarding the Commission's progress.
- Prepare Legal Defense: State law grants the Commission sole legal standing to defend any action regarding a certified map. After the maps are approved, the Commission may need to defend the maps if there are any lawsuits. The final maps will be subject to public scrutiny and possible challenge which may result in swift proceedings before the California Supreme Court. In that event, the Commission would likely hire an attorney to defend the maps on its behalf.
The Commission will determine the amount of time each commissioner will devote to the process and the specific tasks assigned to each individual commissioner.