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  Regular-General Government   # 39.       
County Administrator  
Meeting Date: 01/12/2021  
Brief Title:    Independent Redistricting Commission
From: Patrick Blacklock, County Administrator, County Administrator's Office
Staff Contact: Alexander Tengolics, Manager of Governmental Relations, County Administrator's Office, x8068

Receive an update on redistricting, redistricting commission mechanisms, and related legislation and provide direction to staff on next steps. (No general fund impact) (Blacklock/Tengolics)
Recommended Action
Receive an update on redistricting, redistricting commission mechanisms, and related legislation and provide direction to staff on next steps.
Strategic Plan Goal(s)
County Mandated Service
Reason for Recommended Action/Background
Previously, in 2017, the Board of Supervisors received a presentation from the non-profit advocacy group Common Cause on changes to redistricting laws and independent redistricting commissions. This report is an update on the redistricting process, redistricting commissions, potential COVID-19 impacts, and next steps for the Board of Supervisors regarding redistricting. 

Over the next year the County must complete the redistricting process. Recent legislation and potential Census delays due to COVID-19 have altered the redistricting schedule from prior rounds. Below is a general timeline of the 2021 redistricting process, a more detailed timeline with statutory citations is included as Attachment A.
  • January 12
    • Initial BOS update on redistricting and process; consider options, identify additional data needs and provide any preliminary feedback
  • January 26
    • Staff returns with additional information as requested for further Board deliberation on the preferred redistricting structure (if applicable)
  • February- May
    • Selection of commission members (if applicable)
  • April-July
    • Receive Census data
  • May-October (following receipt of Census data and formation of commission)
    • Outreach/hearings (minimum of four hearings); drafting of maps
  • November
    • Approval of final maps
Previously state and federal statue had required census data to be provided by April and for counties to approve maps by August. Due to COVID-19 and resulting delays, it is uncertain if Census data will be provided by the April deadline. Additionally, changes in state statute have pushed the map approval deadline to December 15, 2021. 

Per the prior timeline, the first decision the Board must make is the mechanism by which new district maps will be selected. The Board can lead this process and facilitate hearings and workshops to draw and approve district maps, but the past practice of the Board of Supervisors has been to form an advisory commission which would lead the hearing and workshop process and through that process provide district maps for the Board’s consideration and approval.

Current statute allows for three different types of redistricting commissions: advisory, hybrid and independent. A breakdown of each is below:
  • Advisory: The commission recommends district map(s) for the Board’s consideration, but ultimate approval authority remains with the Board (this was the format used in 2010 and prior redistricting rounds).
  • Hybrid: The commission proposes district maps for the Board’s consideration and the Board must approve one of the maps without any modification.
  • Independent: The commission is empowered to adopt a district map and is independent from the Board.
Currently Los Angeles, San Diego, and San Francisco, and Santa Barbara counties use independent redistricting commissions.
Regardless of the commission type selected, the Board of Supervisors have discretion in designing the appointment process for the commission, however, hybrid and independent commissions cannot be directly appointed. In the 2010 redistricting process, the advisory committee was directly appointed by the Board. Below staff has provided an overview of the application and appointment protocols for Los Angeles, Sand Diego and Santa Barbara as to provide the Board insight into the appointment process for independent advisory commissions; Attachment B includes a side-by-side comparison for each county:
  1. The County Elections Official selects a number of the most qualified applicants, making public the applicant names for at least 30 days.
    1. Prior to the publication of the qualified applicants list, the official shall not communicate with a member of the board, staff member or an agent for a member of the board about any matter related to the nomination process or applicants.
    2. The official may eliminate any previously selected applicants if the official becomes aware that the applicant does not meet the specified actions.
  2.  The County Elections Official creates a subpool for each supervisorial district of the board, comprised of qualified applicants residing in the district.
  3. At a regularly scheduled meeting of the Board, the Clerk of the county shall conduct a random drawing to select one commissioner from each subpool.
  4. After completing the drawing,  additional commissioners at-large may be selected.
  5. Selected commissioners review the remaining applicants and select the appropriate number of applicants for the remaining commissioner seats.
Criteria for applicants are based on the following, but not limited to:
  1. Relevant experience for the position
  2. Analytical skills
  3. Ability to be impartial
  4. Ensure the commission reflects the County’s diversity (including racial, ethnic, geographic, age and gender)
  5. Political party preference
Per Board direction, should the Board proceed with a redistricting commission, staff contemplates returning to the Board on January 26 with a resolution establishing the commission and its appointment process. Subsequent to the selection of the mechanism staff will return to the Board with a more detailed timeline and details on outreach and engagement.
Collaborations (including Board advisory groups and external partner agencies)
County Counsel, General Services

Fiscal Impact
No Fiscal Impact
Fiscal Impact (Expenditure)
Total cost of recommended action:    $  
Amount budgeted for expenditure:    $  
Additional expenditure authority needed:    $  
On-going commitment (annual cost):    $  
Source of Funds for this Expenditure
Att. A. Detailed Redistricting Timeline
Att. B. Independent Redistricting Commission Comparison
Att. C. Presentation

Form Review
Inbox Reviewed By Date
Jill Perez Alexander Tengolics 09/24/2019 12:24 PM
Jill Perez Alexander Tengolics 09/24/2019 01:29 PM
Jill Perez Alexander Tengolics 09/27/2019 01:07 PM
Jill Perez jcook 01/04/2021 08:19 PM
Phil Pogledich Phil Pogledich 01/06/2021 12:49 PM
Elisa Sabatini Elisa Sabatini 01/06/2021 01:16 PM
Form Started By: Alexander Tengolics Started On: 10/04/2017 09:43 AM
Final Approval Date: 01/06/2021


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