California’s Citizen Redistricting Commission has just approved new legislative and congressional political boundaries. More public hearings are scheduled, and several lawsuits are also expected. How will the new districts affect California politics?

John Myers, KQED's Sacramento bureau chief
Bruce Cain, executive director of the UC Washington Center and Heller professor of political science at UC Berkeley
Vincent Barabba, commissioner with the California Citizens Redistricting Commission and founder of the Market Insight Corporation
Cynthia Dai, commissioner with the California Citizens Redistricting Commission and CEO of Dainamic Consulting

  • Helen

    Mr. Krasny said that the new redistricting process was designed to make districts more competitive. While some people may have assumed that, the official groups initiating this process and supporting the ballot measure never said that this was a goal. The goal was an open and transparent process, using fair criteria.

  • Martin Beebee

    Why aren’t the districts simply drawn along county lines? It seems that would be the most objective approach.

    • Frank

      Because districts must be based on balanced population levels.  County boundaries do not do that.

  • Lee Thé

    My only complaint about the process is not the fault of the redistricting commission, because it was mandated by federal law: the requirement that ethnic/racial groups be guaranteed “safe” districts, even if that violates actual community geography. 

    There is no moral justification for writing ethnic/racial preferences into the law today. A century ago the law discriminated against some minorities, but that was corrected many decades ago. Now it just encourages people to think of themselves by their ethnic/racial identification instead of as Americans. This helps America how?

    • watching

      This was a mandate; no choice.

  • Christine Bush

    It is actually a disservice to refer to these as “maps”.  What the commission has done is created new district layers.  A map *should* have a legend that shows us attribute data about the various districts so that upon viewing a member of the general public can discern something about the logic for the drawing of these districts.  All the commission has given us is GEOMETRY.  It is left to those of us familiar with using census data and GIS to draw any conclusions on our own.  I’m very disappointed with the product produced by the commission regardless of what the results are the product may be. 

    • watching

      The process is not finished.

  • Mandy

    Rather than backroom partisan horsetrading, the Commission gave us transparency, Yes, but it will give us more. Rather than candidates determined by the more extreme voters in primary elections in districts drawn for no reason other than to have strict partisan “safe” districts, we will have candidates that have to appeal to broader concerns of a less polarized electorate. And it is easier for representatives to have town halls and constituents to meet one another in geographically sensitive districts. There is no doubt that these districts are better than anything the former system would produce.

  • Ryan

    A lot of the discussion has been focused on what this means for democrats and republicans, but what does this mean for 3rd parties? Will 3rd parties have a better chance of representing some districts in the legislature?

    (Apologies if this was addressed, I hadn’t been listening for the past few minutes.)

  • Chrisco

    By the way, thanks for sparing us a segment on the debt ceiling resolution. I have debt ceiling fatigue.

  • I applaud California leading the way in electoral reforms that will open up the political process, including but not limited to redistricting reform. But it seems people are missing the point here. People are overly focused on who “wins” and “loses” in this new redistricting process. The point of this and other electoral reforms is to reduce the partisan influence of the political parties over the electoral process. Focusing on whether this particular redistricting effort advantages this group or that, this party or that is virtually irrelevant. What’s important is that it improves the overall functioning of our democracy and that benefits everyone.

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