By Cecilia Chen, Public Policy Director, Northern California Grantmakers
Census and redistricting – two sides of the same coin. Both take place every ten years and both are integral to determining how each Californian is represented at the federal, state, and local levels. In California, our groundbreaking independent redistricting process offers everyday Californians the opportunity to participate in and shape a fundamental part of our democracy.
Established by the Voters FIRST Act, the Citizens Redistricting Commission is comprised of 14 citizens – five Democrats, five Republicans, and four independents or “no party preference” – and charged with creating districts of relatively equal population and with the goal of providing fair representation to all Californians. Appointed every ten years, the Citizens Redistricting Commission is an opportunity for average citizens to play a crucial role in our democracy. Independent from the State Legislature, the Citizens Redistricting Commission ensures that new and fair political boundaries are drawn free from politics and special interests.
Although the redistricting process will not begin until 2021, selection of the 2020 Citizens Redistricting Commission is already underway. A diverse and robust applicant pool is essential to ensuring that a representative and highly-qualified group of Commissioners is selected. However, a lack of diversity in the 2020 applicant pool threatens to undermine the strength of the 2020 Commission. Male applicants vastly outnumber female applicants and two-thirds of applicants are white.
There is time to ensure a robust applicant pool before the August 19 deadline and philanthropy has a unique role to play.
- Submit an initial application to join the 2020 Citizens Redistricting Commission by August 19, 2019. Qualified applicants will be invited to submit a Supplemental Application.
- Get the word out to your grantees and encourage others in your network to apply!
To learn more about the 2020 Citizens Redistricting Commission and the application process, please visit the State Auditor’s Office. Additionally, you may register for the Mexican American Legal Defense and Education Fund’s webinar “How to Become a Member of the California Citizens Redistricting Commission” on August 6 at 11:00 am for more information.