An eager, engaged, diverse crowd came together on Thursday for the Northern California Redistricting CA Conference near San Francisco International Airport.
This is one of several public meetings being held across the state to connect with everyday Californians and encourage them to become a part of the process to redraw the lines of our State Legislative, Congressional, and Board of Equalization districts.
The event was hosted by the non-partisan California Redistricting Alliance, which includes organizations such as California Forward, California Common Cause, the California Voting Rights Institute, and many others. The purpose of the event was to teach Californians about the redistricting process and provide guidance on the most effective way to testify in front of the Citizen’s Redistricting Commission (CRC).
Two Commissioners from the CRC, Connie Galambos Malloy and Vincent Barraba, answered questions from the crowd. Commissioner Malloy told the audience, “If I were to advise you on when to plug into the process, now is the moment.”
She emphasized that the input phase leading up to the first draft of the map is key to defining communities of interest, and Californians will want to be involved. That input process begins on April 9.
Fred Keeley, Former Assembly Speaker pro Tempore and California Forward Leadership Council Member, said, “This is a wonderfully exciting time in California history. It is all about who is going to have power, and we are going to have a chance with citizens independent redistricting to have the voters select their legislators rather than legislators selecting their voters. I strongly encourage people to go to the meetings in their community… and participate in drawing the lines.”
In a statement, the commission said, “Public participation in drawing these districts is critical to ensuring that communities have the strongest voice possible to express their preferences. When voters with similar interests are drawn into a district together, their voices multiply giving them a greater opportunity to express their views, elect candidates of their choice and hold their leaders accountable.”
A calendar of hearings can be found on the Citizen’s Redistricting Commission‘s website.
The first round of maps are expected to be released in June. Final district maps must be certified by August 15.