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Redistricting at a glance

What is redistricting?

Once a decade, after new census figures are released, voting districts for Congress, the state Legislature and the Board of Equalization are adjusted for population shifts. Sacramento lawmakers used to draw the boundaries, generating complaints that they unfairly protected incumbents. Voters passed Proposition 11 in 2008 and Proposition 20 in 2010, giving the job to an independent panel of five Democrats, five Republicans and four unaffiliated voters.

How are boundaries determined?

The commission must create contiguous districts of equal size, insuring that minorities are not disenfranchised. The districts ought to be geographically compact. Communities of interest should be kept together. The line drawers may not intentionally favor an incumbent or political party. If possible, each state Senate district should contain two Assembly districts.

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What happens next?

After the draft maps are released Friday, the commission will hold public hearings across the state throughout June. Refined maps will be released around July 1, followed by more hearings. Final maps will be published around July 26. The commission must ratify its maps by Aug. 15 with a supermajority vote, requiring three Republicans, three Democrats and three unaffiliated members.

If the commissioners cannot agree, the state Supreme Court will appoint special masters to draw the districts. If the commissioners adopt maps that are contested in lawsuits, the state Supreme Court will rule.

For more information, see wedrawthelines.ca.gov

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-- Seema Mehta


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