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New Census Data Helps CA Communities Prep for Redistricting

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Monday, August 16, 2021   

LOS ANGELES - New census data shows California is the second most diverse state in the nation, behind Hawaii - and that has big implications for new legislative districts that will be drawn up over the next few months.

The California Citizens Redistricting Commission took over the map-making duties from the Legislature after the 2010 census - so this is their second go around.

Kathay Feng, director of redistricting and representation at Common Cause, said the goal is to create fair political district maps that allow voters to choose their politicians and not the other way around.

"The lines are no longer tied to where the incumbents live or a partisan basis," said Feng. "They're tied to where those populations are growing. And so we may see significant shifts in the way the lines are, purely based on those demographic changes."

In the past, lawmakers tended to draw districts that protected incumbents and diluted the voting power of communities of color by packing them into one district or spreading them out into multiple districts.

Now nonprofits such as All On The Line are prepping community groups to speak out - with a program called Redistricting U - that holds its next online class tomorrow night.

The Citizen's Redistricting Commission already has started taking public testimony and has many hearings coming up. The schedule is online at Wedrawthelinesca.org.

Feng encouraged everyday citizens to get involved in the process.

"You do not need to be an expert at redistricting," said Feng. "If you can say, 'Here's where we're at, here are the issues that we care about,' that is what the commission needs to hear."

The census data showed that no one ethnic group forms a majority in the state.

The Latino population in California has gone up by more than 11% since 2010. The state is now roughly 41% white, 39% Latino, 15% Asian and less than 6% Black.




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