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The Citizens Redistricting Commission released the highly anticipated draft political district maps today. Maps are to be finalized by mid-August.
Draft maps can be viewed on the commission’s website at www.wedrawthelines.ca.gov.
The commission was established when voters approved Proposition 11, the Voters First Act redistricting reform initiative last November. That measure allows the citizens of California—rather than the legislators—to draw legislative districts. The 2012 elections will be the first to reflect the redrawing of districts what will be in place though 2020.
In addition, due to voter-approved Proposition 14, the top two open primary system starts in June 2012 and will create more competitive general elections to help elect more pro-jobs legislators.
Following the maps’ release, the commission will hold a series of public input hearings around the state to receive the public’s feedback on the maps. The commission will also be accepting public comments by e-mail, by fax, and by mail. Please visit the commission’s website contact information and for the locations and dates of the hearings, www.wedrawthelines.ca.gov.
Commissioners must consider several state and federal constitutional criteria when drafting district boundaries. Most important among the criteria are that districts must be approximately equal in population. Based on 2010 Census data released this year, this means each of the:
At the federal level, the equal population requirement is quite strict. Congressional districts are unlikely to vary by more than 1 person, plus or minus, in each district. At other levels, the standard is slightly more relaxed and variances up to 3 percent to 5 percent usually are acceptable, as long as the variance was not manipulated to favor one group over another.