Every ten years, cities with by-district election systems must use new census data to review and, if needed, redraw district lines to reflect how local populations have changed. This process, called redistricting, ensures all districts have nearly equal population. The redistricting process for the City of Redlands must be completed by April 17, 2022.
The City adopted its current district boundaries on April 18, 2017, based on 2010 Federal Census data as required by law. The districts must now be redrawn using the 2020 Federal Census data and in compliance with the FAIR MAPS Act, which was adopted by the California legislature as AB 849 and took effect January 1, 2020.
Under the Act, the Council must draw and adopt boundaries using the following criteria in the listed order of priority pursuant to Elections Code Section 21601(c):
Once the prioritized criteria are met, other traditional districting principles can be considered, such as:
- Compliance with the federal requirements of equal population and the Voting Rights Act
- Geographically contiguous
- Undivided neighborhoods and “communities of interest” (socio-economic geographic areas that should be kept together)
- Easily identifiable boundaries
- Compact (do not bypass one group of people to get to a more distant group of people)
- Shall not favor or discriminate against a political party
By law, the City must hold at least four public hearings that enable community members to provide input on the drawing of district maps:
- Minimize the number of voters delayed from voting in 2022 to 2024 due to redistricting
- Respect voters’ choices / continuity in office
- Future population growth
To increase the accessibility of these hearings, cities and counties must take the following steps:
- At least one hearing must occur before the city or county draws draft maps
- At least two hearings must happen after the drawing of draft maps
- The fourth hearing can happen either before or after the drawing of draft maps
- City or county staff or consultants may hold a public workshop instead of one of the required public redistricting hearings
The purpose of this public hearing is to inform the public about the districting process and to hear from the community on what factors should be taken into consideration while creating district boundaries. The public is requested to provide input regarding communities of interest and other local factors that should be considered while drafting district maps. A community of interest under the relevant Elections Code for cities (Section 21601(c) / 21621(c)] is “a population that shares common social or economic interests that should be included within a single district for purposes of its effective and fair representation.”
- At least one hearing must occur on a Saturday, Sunday, or after 6 p.m. on a weekday
- If a redistricting hearing is consolidated with another local government meeting, the redistricting hearing portion must begin at a pre-designated time
- Local public redistricting hearings should be made accessible to people with disabilities
Possible features defining community of interest might include, but are not limited to, the following:
- School attendance areas;
- Natural dividing lines such as major roads, hills, or highways;
- Areas around parks and other neighborhood landmarks;
- Common issues, neighborhood activities, or legislative/election concerns; and
- Shared demographic characteristics, such as:
- Similar levels of income, education, or linguistic insolation;
- Languages spoken at home; and
- Single-family and multi-family housing unit areas.
In July 2021, the City Council authorized staff to procure the services of a consultant specializing in the California Voting Rights Act of 2001 (CVRA) to assist the City Council in potential redistricting of current Council district boundaries. On Thursday, September 30, 2021, the Development Services Department will conduct a public workshop via Zoom from 5:00 pm to 7:00 pm to seek public input and provide direction on criteria to be considered while drafting district maps. Following that workshop, draft district maps and proposed election sequencing will be posted to the City website and available at City Hall.
Future hearing dates to consider draft maps will be held on January 18 and February 15, and will be followed by a hearing on the proposed ordinance on March 1.