04/26/2016 by Ed Coghlan
California halfway to next round of redistricting
(Photo Credit: League of Women Voters of California Education Fund)
“We are at the 50-yard line—halfway to the next redistricting process,” said Vince Hall, executive director of the Future of California Elections (FoCE).
It’s never too early to start thinking about the next redistricting, which will occur in 2021. That's why FoCE hosted a webinar on Tuesday, attracting about 100 registrants to talk both about the next redistricting and the move in many California cities from at-large elections to district-based elections.
At the recent FoCE state convention in Los Angeles, these topics drew large attendance. So Hall figured, correctly it seems, that there was an appetite for more information.
Denise Hulett, the national senior counsel for the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund (MALDEF) reviewed the importance of making sure that local, state and federal districts are not drawn to disenfranchise the people who live in them.
Michael Vu, registrar for San Diego County was also a participant and provided valuable insights into the rarely seen “nuts and bolts” of implementing new districts, especially as local communities move to district based elections.
Connie Malloy, a portfolio director at The James Irvine Foundation, is also a Commissioner of the California Citizens Redistricting Commission. She emphasized that community involvement is needed and that, if we care about good governance in the state, each of us has a stake in making sure that it happens.
Ms. Malloy urged people to provide input, assuring them that during the 2010 process the input the Commission received from people across California mattered in how the district lines were drawn up.
Prop 11 in 2008 took the decennial job of drawing political boundaries away from lawmakers and gave it to citizens to reduce partisan gerrymandering.
“What started in California is spreading to other states,” said Jim Mayer, president and CEO of CA Fwd. “We were an early, involved and strong partner in developing, supporting and implementing Prop 11. We have been hearing from people in other states who are interested in how California did this and how they might replicate it in their states.”
Hall said that theme of California’s leadership in redistricting was echoed on the webinar.
“We view redistricting as a foundation to having healthy and vibrant elections in California,” said Hall. “Today’s webinar was a reminder to all who participated that it is important and timely to be talking about redistricting in California.”
FoCE has another webinar planned for May 10 covering the important issue of election funding in California.
Just last week, the California Association of Elected Officials unveiled a website that is designed to track what it costs to put on elections in California.
With the question of funding on many minds, California Forward (CA Fwd) has been conducting surveys of election officials to explore ways to more sustainably fund election administration. The Election Funding Project—supported by the James Irvine Foundation--has set out to gather information on the different ways elections are funded in California and in other states with the goal of creating a ‘menu of options’ for state and local governments to finance elections.
The report is due out in May, around the time of the FoCE webinar on the topic.