The 14-member commission is deliberating in public as it redraws California’s political boundaries, consisting of 120 state legislative districts, 53 congressional districts, and four Board of Equalization districts.
John Myers, KQED’s Sacramento Bureau Chief, took a look at what’s coming up for the commission in a Capital Notes post yesterday:
On June 10, the citizen map drawers will release the first draft proposals and the political world will be watching. Closely. But the truth is, political junkies have been pondering for months already where the lines should go (or will go), analyzing the words and actions of the commissioners while also crafting their own maps, just in case.
For the general public, the draft maps may produce some surprises. Tops on that list: what’s not in them. As I reported back in the fall of 2008, Arnold Schwarzenegger mainly sold the original redistricting initiative as a way to create competition in political races and, by extension, more moderates in elected office. Even the language of that initiative outlined factors like compactness, keeping cities and counties from being split into multiple districts, nesting (two Assembly districts per Senate district), and the recently clarified goal of respecting communities of interest.
But it’s important to note that these are all goals, not mandates; as the constitutional initiative itself puts it, these factors are used “to the extent practicable.” The commission’s top priorities must be, due to federal law, equal population and the voting rights of minorities. The latter is especially noteworthy in California, one of only a handful of states whose maps are vetted for legality under a key provision of the 1965 Voting Rights Act (VRA).
You also listen to Myers’ report from yesterday’s California Report:
And here’s a video interview I did a couple of months ago, in which two of the commissioners explain their job.