News & Publications

Redistricting & Voting Rights Update: Your Resource for Redistricting News as the 2020 Census Approaches

       

Chris Skinnell Talks Partisan Gerrymandering (8/9/2019)

On August 9, 2019, Chris Skinnell participated in panel at the American Bar Association’s Annual meeting to discuss the Supreme Court’s recent decisions on partisan gerrymandering, Rucho v. Common Cause and Lamone v. Benisek. The program, which is co-sponsored by the Young Lawyers Division and the Standing Committee on Election Law, addressed the ramifications for the future of drawing election maps.

 

New Redistricting Rules Proposed (8/2/2019)

Just like 10 years ago, California cities and counties must consider redistricting after release of the 2020 Census results, but the rules may be very different than in the last round of redistricting.

AB 849 (Bonta) Click here for the text of the bill

Status: Passed Assembly (55-20)

Next Step: Senate Appropriations Hearing scheduled for August 12, 2019

Summary of Some Key Provisions:

This bill applies to all cities, general law and charter alike, and to counties.

The bill changes how populations are determined for redistricting purposes, including counting incarcerated persons whose last known place of residence is within a jurisdiction (compare the long-standing opinion of the California Attorney General here). Once the law is settled, we will provide more information on the topic.

The bill establishes mandatory criteria to be considered in redrawing district boundaries.  The criteria, in priority order are:

  1. Geographic contiguity
  2. Minimizing the division of communities of interest, which is defined as “a population that shares common social or economic interests that should be included within a single [] district for purposes of its effective and fair representation”
  3. Geographic integrity of a political subdivisions and census designated places (counties only)
  4. Ease of district boundary identifiability and understandability by residents
  5. Geographic compactness
  6. Not favoring or discriminating against a particular political party
  7. For charter cities, there is a provision about assigning district numbers.

The bill changes the timing for redistricting: no earlier than August 1, 2021 and no later than 151 days before the jurisdiction’s regular election occurring after March 1, 2022. If the jurisdiction fails to meet that deadline, the power to redistrict falls to the superior court.

The bill increases the number of public hearings required for redistricting legislation, specifies the timing of public hearings, and mandates public outreach, among other procedural changes.

AB 1724 (Salas) Click here for the text of the bill

Status: Introduced

Next Step: Assembly Elections and Redistricting; no hearing scheduled

Summary:

This bill would require every general law city and county to establish an independent redistricting commission to adjust boundary lines for districts for the legislative body following each decennial census, with certain requirements for commission membership and selection.

SB 139 (Allen) Click here for the text of the bill

Status: Passed Senate (29-7)

Next Step: Assembly Appropriations Hearing; not yet scheduled

Summary:

This bill would require a county with more than 250,000 residents to establish either a 9- or 12-member independent redistricting commission to adjust boundary lines for districts for the Board of Supervisors following each decennial census.

The bill specifies qualifications for commission members and specifies that the political party affiliation of the commission’s members shall be proportional to the county’s party registration, with qualifications.

The bill also specifies additional aspects of the commission application and selection process.