2020 Citizens Redistricting Commission
African American community leaders urge eligible citizens to apply for Citizens Redistricting Commission by Aug. 9 By ELAINE M. HOWLE, CPA In mid-June, California business leaders, government advocates, party representatives, and community leaders came together to join
African American community leaders urge eligible citizens to apply for Citizens Redistricting Commission by Aug. 9
By ELAINE M. HOWLE, CPA
In mid-June, California business leaders, government advocates, party representatives, and community leaders came together to join the California State Auditor’s Office at community events throughout the state.
The occasion? We announced that the application period for Californians to apply to become a commissioner on the 2020 Citizens Redistricting Commission (Commission) had just begun. I am pleased to report that this opportunity, which only comes every 10 years, is being met with enthusiasm, and a call for African American citizens to get involved.
What is this commission?
Every 10 years after the federal census, California must re-establish the boundaries of its Congressional, State Senate, State Assembly, and State Board of Equalization districts to reflect the state’s new population data and shifting populations.
The Voters FIRST Act, passed in 2008, gave this power to California citizens through a 14-member independent commission to ensure that new and fair political boundaries would be drawn without special interests, politics, and political influence. The process for selecting the new commissioners has begun.
California citizens of diverse backgrounds are encouraged to apply to ensure balanced and fair representation. At the end of the first week of the initial application period, which began on June 10, we received more than a thousand applications—about six percent of those applicants identified themselves as Black or African American. We want to see the numbers grow!
This is a chance to become a part of creating transparent district boundaries that serve the best interests of all Californians and of the community. These district lines will determine where our representatives come from and will remain in effect for the next 10 years. Any eligible citizen with a passion for civic engagement should apply to become one of 14 new commissioners.
Members of the 2020 Citizens Redistricting Commission will be selected from a group of eligible California citizens. This opportunity is open to registered voters who have been registered with the same political party or with no political party since July 1, 2015 and have voted in at least two of the last three statewide general elections. Applications must be submitted online at shapecaliforniasfuture.auditor.ca.gov through Aug. 9, 2019.
“Fair redistricting is critical to the Black community. That’s why we are committed to making sure people know about this opportunity and apply right away,” said Patrice Marshall McKenzie, president of Pasadena Chapter, Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc.
The Commission will be comprised of five members who are Democrats, five members who are Republicans and four members who are registered either with another party or without a party preference. All political sides will be represented, so let’s work on making sure all Californians are represented and that the Commission is reflective of our state’s diversity.
This Commission will work best if everyone has a voice. Get involved. Apply!
Elaine M. Howle, CPA, has served as California State Auditor for the past 18 years.