Why does the Citizens Redistricting Commission exist?
- California must redraw the boundaries of its Congressional, State Senate, State Assembly, and State Board of Equalization districts every 10 years, to reflect the new federal census population data.
- In November 2008, California voters passed the Voters FIRST Act, authorizing the creation of the Citizens Redistricting Commission (the Commission) to draw new district lines, taking the job out of the hands of the Legislature and giving it to the citizens. Prior to 2008, California legislators drew the district lines. In 2010, the VOTERS FIRST Act for Congress added the responsibility of drawing Congressional districts to the Commission.
- The Act requires the California State Auditor, an independent non-partisan entity, to initiate and implement an application process for selecting the members of the Commission.
What are the Laws & Regulations?
What does the commission do?
- In conformity with strict, non-partisan rules designed to create districts of relatively equal population and with the goal of providing fair representation for all Californians, the Commission will draw the district boundaries for the Congressional districts, State Senate districts, State Assembly districts and State Board of Equalization districts.
- Role of Commissioner
Who can be on the commission?
- The Commission will be comprised of 14 members – five members who are Democrats, five members who are Republicans and four members who are either registered without a, or "independent" of any, political party (decline-to-state or no party preference) or with another party.
- Registered voters are eligible to serve on the Commission if they have been continuously registered in California with the same political party, or with no political party, for the five years immediately prior to being appointed to the Commission; and they have voted in at least two of the last three statewide general elections.
- A voter may not serve on the Commission if the voter or a member of their immediate family has been appointed to, elected to, or been a candidate for a California congressional or state office; served as an officer, employee, or paid consultant of a California political party or of the campaign committee of a candidate for California congressional or elective state office; or has been a registered lobbyist.
What is the application process?
- California citizens may submit an application to the California State Auditor's Office through this website during the initial application period from June 10, 2019, to August 19, 2019, by 5:00 p.m. PST.
- Applicants who affirm in their applications that they meet all of the qualifications in the Act to serve on the Commission, and do not have a conflict of interest, will be invited to submit a supplemental application containing additional information about their qualifications.
- An Applicant Review Panel (panel) consisting of three independent auditors will then lead the selection process.
- Once the panel has reviewed all applications, the panel will select 120 of the “most qualified applicants,” who the panel will then personally interview in Sacramento, California. These 120 applicants will be evenly divided into three sub-pools according to party affiliation. From the 120 applicants who are interviewed, the panel will identify 60 of the most qualified applicants (evenly divided into three sub-pools according to party affiliation or no party preference).
- The panel then will present the 60 names to four legislative leaders for review: 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 of these legislative leaders may remove up to two applicants from each of the sub-pools. The final applicant pool is then sent to the State Auditor, who randomly draws the names of the first eight commissioners from the names remaining in the three sub-pools: three applicants who are Democrats, three applicants who are Republicans and two applicants who are either registered without a, or "independent" of any, political party (decline-to-state or no party preference) or with another party. These eight applicants shall become the first eight members of the Commission, and they will then complete the selection process by selecting the final six members of the Commission.
- Working together the Commission will approve four maps; one for the Congressional districts, one for State Senate districts, one for the State Assembly districts, and one for the State Board of Equalization districts. Once the Commission has approved the four final maps, the maps are certified to the Secretary of State with a report explaining the basis on which the Commission made its decisions.
What does the Panel look for in a Commission member?
The Panel identifies the most qualified applicants on the basis of their relevant analytical skills, ability to be impartial, and appreciation for California's diverse demographics and geography.
What analytical skills does the Panel look for in Commission members?
Relevant analytical skills include the learned abilities that a Commission member will need to successfully complete the work of the Commission. These skills may include, but are not limited to, the ability to read and understand dense and technical written materials; the ability to participate effectively in public hearings; and the ability to resolve complex problems. Examples of additional relevant analytical skills are provided in section 60827 of the regulations.
What does it mean to be impartial?
An applicant with the ability to be impartial means that although an applicant may have strong views, and may have participated in social or political causes, he or she has the capacity and willingness, while serving as a member of the Commission, to set aside his or her personal views in order to evaluate information with an open mind and make decisions that are fair to everyone affected. Section 60800 of the regulations provides additional information.
What does it mean to have an appreciation for California's diverse demographics and geography?
Having an appreciation for California's diverse demographics and geography means the applicant has:
- An understanding that California's population consists of individuals sharing certain demographic characteristics that may reflect their preferences concerning political representation;
- An understanding that the people of California reside in many different localities with distinct geographic characteristics that may reflect the preferences of the residents concerning their political representation; and
- A recognition that California benefits by having effective participation in the electoral process by persons of all demographic characteristics, residing in all geographic locations.