Common Cause executive director comments on redistricting commission

Last night, California’s fully independent Citizens Redistricting Commission approved new district maps for California’s next decade of elections. The final vote carried unanimous support from a Commission that is intentionally composed of 14 regular Californians with partisan balance — five Democrats, five Republicans, and four decline-to-state or other political party members. Commissioners and their staff deserve our respect and thanks for hundreds of dedicated hours of public service, often done under intense scrutiny and difficult conditions.

While the process was at times messy, it was an exercise in democracy done in public. The commission drew new district maps for our congressional delegation, State Senate, State Assembly and Board of Equalization over the course of roughly 150 livestreamed meetings, including meetings dedicated to every region of the state and meetings held in a wide variety of languages.

The commission’s work included honoring hundreds of communities of interest throughout the state, whose needs were voiced by community members themselves in more than 30,000 pieces of public input submitted verbally and in writing. Those communities proved to be the heart of this redistricting cycle.

While the commission has received its share of criticism, and California Common Cause is committed to examining process improvements for the 2031 commission, this group of commissioners must be heralded for running an inclusive and highly participatory redistricting process that put the California public in the driver’s seat.

California Common Cause joined with its allies 13 years ago to create the California’s Citizens Redistricting Commission with the goal of taking the power to draw political districts out of the hands of self-interested incumbent politicians, who for decades had manipulated California’s redistricting processes to keep themselves in power. The alternative was a process that was meant to be driven by California’s diverse communities and to be responsive to public participation. That goal was unequivocally achieved Monday night.

We applaud the commission, its staff, and the tens of thousands of everyday Californians who participated in this process and helped shape political representation in our state for a decade to come.