What is Redistricting?
Every ten years, all jurisdictions throughout the United States revise their election district mapping to assure that representation of districts is equal (one person, one vote); a variance of not more than 10% is allowed.
The U.S. Census Bureau undertook the 2010 federal decennial census in April 2010, with additional information being collected, verified, and organized through the balance of 2010.
The 2010 census data will be released between January and March 2011, at which time jurisdictions throughout the United States will revise their local congressional, assembly, senate, supervisorial, city council, school and community college trustee districts.
How is Monterey County conducting its redistricting efforts?
California Elections Code Section 21505 provides that "the board may appoint a committee composed of residents of the county to study the matter of changing the boundaries of the supervisorial districts. The committee shall make its report to the board of its findings on the need for change of boundaries, and the recommended changes, within 6 months after the final population figures determined in each federal decennial census have been released, but in any event not later than August 1st of the year following the year in which the census was taken. Recommendations of the committee are advisory only."
In 2000, the Board approved a Redistricting Work Plan and appointed a Committee as recommended in this instance. The Committee held public meetings and met with individuals to educate and to listen to the concerns of the public and made recommendations to the Board. The result was a successful redistricting plan that was adopted by the Board on July 10, 2001 and was pre-approved by the Department of Justice.
The Committee began meetings in January 2011. The Committee has reviewed the requirements of redistricting, and prepared for receipt of the data, which was received on March 19, 2011 and is reviewing the population numbers, the supervisorial district changes that will be required, and some tentative maps.
The Committee is conducting a public outreach via the website and through public meetings.
Clearance by the Department of Justice
Pursuant to Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act (42 U.S.C. § 1973d and implementing regulations at 28 C.F.R. Part 51), district boundaries are subject to preclearance by the U.S. Department of Justice. In 1991-1993, the County’s redistricting process was challenged and delayed because of litigation.
The laws and decisions of the courts involving voting rights make redistricting a serious challenge. "One-person, one-vote" is the rule under which counties must apportion representation, with a delicate balance between the Voting Rights Act and the requirements of the Fourteenth Amendment to develop a valid redistricting plan, as well as other local and state legislative bodies. Although court challenges can be realistically anticipated in redistricting, the goal is to develop a plan as fairly as possible so that legal challenges will be less likely and the people of Monterey County will have the opportunity to participate fully and fairly in the process.
Who will do it?
A Committee consisting of 15 people, appointed by the Board of Supervisors, three from each district, are Citizens Redistricting Advisory Committee. The analyst who coordinated the Redistricting Project in 2001 is coordinating this effort. She is Susan Lyons and can be reached by email or cell phone. County Counsel has assigned Attorney Lee Blankenship to the effort. The demographic consulting firm of Lapkoff and Gobalet Research, Inc. is assisting staff, Committee, and Board in the drawing of proposed district boundaries which reflect the census data. The demographer attends meetings and presents the population numbers with GIS mapping to the public and to the Board.
The Registrar of Voters is included in the meetings and will be required to implement the new Plan adopted by the Board in November 2011 into the County’s election process.
Regular updates have been given to the Board.
What are the timelines?
The County is required under the Elections Code to re-define the supervisorial districts by November 1, 2011, based upon the federal decennial census of 2010. In order to meet federal deadlines, the County must adopt the plan prior to November 1, 2011. The plan must be pre-cleared by the Department of Justice pursuant to Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act of 1965, as amended.
The Citizen Redistricting Advisory Committee, will develop a recommendation to the Board for its redistricting requirements in 2011. This Committee will be charged with the public outreach to educate and obtain information and to work with a demographer for the purpose of geographic information system (GIS) mapping of populations.