Today the California Citizens Redistricting Commission made history by releasing its final draft maps for the state’s Assembly, Senate, Board of Equalization and Congressional districts. The new maps come after months of commentary, research, and public hearings all over the state.
“The process has indeed been a partnership with the public,” said Comm. Connie Galambos Malloy at a news conference. “Thousands of individuals came and gave their testimony. Tens of thousands more submitted comments in writing.”
The mood at the meeting was serious and at times celebratory. Several commissioners commented on how well the Commission worked as a team – even though they didn’t always agree. “We have not shied away from engaging in lively, principled, transparent debate,” Malloy said.
Commissioners also applauded the public’s role in making the process work. Comm. Cynthia Dai said she was “inspired” by people who commented, especially those who traveled long distances to speak on behalf of their community.
During today’s meeting, California Forward and the League of Women Voters of California, two organizations who helped ensure the process remained transparent, thanked Commissioners for their hard work, unprecedented transparency, and making the public a partner in redistricting in a way that was unimaginable ten years ago.
When asked whether the Commission had enhanced the democratic process, Malloy said the opportunity for public involvement encouraged tens of thousands of individuals to submit their comments in person and online. “That created a new landscape with opportunity for new leadership across California to emerge.”
“We all believe in this process,” said Comm. Michelle DiGiulio. “It’s been worth it every step of the way, and we did an incredible service for the people of California,” even though the long hours took a toll on “our time, our work and our children.” Though “everyone on this commission has personally sacrificed, none of us would trade it for anything.”
Although the maps were not approved unanimously (Assembly, Senate and Board of Equalization maps were approved by a 13-1 vote and Congressional maps by a 12-2 vote), they were approved by the requisite minimum of Commission representatives from each partisan sub-pool.
The final draft maps can be viewed at http://wedrawthelines.ca.gov/. The Commission is expected to approve them as final and send them to the California Secretary of State on August 15. The public then has 45 days to file any complaints, which will be reviewed by the California Supreme Court.