The Citizens Redistricting Commission, responsible for redistricting California, is set to release preliminary maps on Nov. 10, five days before its deadline, according to the commission. A commission staff member told BenitoLink the commission will contact residents who signed up for notifications on their website and will also share the maps on social media.
Though some maps have been circulated in social media where San Benito County is placed in the Central Valley district or Silicon Valley, the commission said it has not released any maps.
The map that shows proposed U.S. congressional districts places San Benito County with parts of Santa Clara County, currently California’s 19th Congressional District. The state Assembly district splits San Benito County from Monterey County and the state Senate district would include parts of Fresno County.
The Citizens Redistricting Commission, established in 2008, is responsible for drawing up the congressional, state Assembly, state Senate and Board of Equalization districts every 10 years.
The commission has until Dec. 15 to submit the final four maps to the California secretary of state, who has until Dec. 27 to certify the district maps.
“Fourteen days following the release of Preliminary Draft District Maps, the Commission may not display any other maps for public comment during this period,” the Citizens Redistricting Commission website states.
The public can still voice support or concerns with the commission following the release of the draft maps through the website. According to the site, the commission has received more than 5,100 comments regarding redistricting.
The commission is made up of 14 members who were selected to reflect the makeup of California, including geographic and social-economic status. It includes five Democrats, five Republicans and four who do not belong to either party.
According to the Citizens Redistricting Commission website, it must follow these criteria, in this order, when drawing district maps:
- Districts must be of equal population to comply with the U.S. Constitution.
- Districts must comply with the Voting Rights Act to ensure that minorities have an
equal opportunity to elect representatives of their choice.
- Districts must be drawn contiguously, so that all parts of the district are connected to each other.
- Districts must minimize the division of cities, counties, neighborhoods, and
communities to the extent possible.
- Districts should be geographically compact: such that nearby areas of population
are not bypassed for a more distant population. This requirement refers to density, not shape. Census blocks cannot be split.
- Where practicable each Senate district should be composed of two complete and adjacent Assembly districts, and Board of Equalization districts should be comprised of 10 complete and adjacent state Senate districts.
The commission also developed 11 zones to manage its outreach efforts. Each zone is headed by two commissioners who will schedule educational sessions with community groups.
San Benito County is included in outreach zone E with Santa Cruz, Monterey, San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara and Ventura counties. Commissioners Neal Fornaciari (R-San Joaquin County) and Ray Kennedy (D-San Bernardino County) are assigned to this outreach zone.
According to the outreach calendar, there has not been a presentation directed at San Benito County. There have been five presentations in zone E between October 2020 and July 2021, mostly in San Luis Obispo County. The closest meeting to San Benito County was held on April 11 in Santa Cruz.
“The initial redistricting basics presentations were provided as a result of the outreach team and commissioners targeting various zones throughout the state,” said Fredy Ceja, communications director for the California Citizens Redistricting Commission.
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