SACRAMENTO, Calif. (KTXL/KGET) – The draft maps are officially out for California’s updated districts for elected officials in the state Legislature and Congress.
“Our goal is to draw fair maps,” said California Citizens Redistricting Commissioner Alicia Fernandez.
Fernandez is one of the 14-member commission tasked with redrawing district lines, a process that must be done every decade following the census.
The commission’s main responsibility is to make sure districts across the state are all about the same size, geographically make sense and protect the voting rights of ethnic groups.
Leading up to the draft map release, the commission had marathon meetings to figure out how to divvy up districts, with each representing about 988,000 people in the state Senate, 494,000 in the state Assembly and about 761,000 in Congress.
“We’re doing the best we can,” Fernandez explained. “I will say it was like sometimes painful, sometimes frustrating, just a swing of emotions these last four days where I just feel drained at this point.”
In the latest census, California lost a congressional seat – going from 53 to 52 – which threw a wrench into the already complicated process.
The draft maps show that loss created a ripple effect across the state, instead of affecting one single area.
“Everyone is trying to guess who lost the seat. I don’t think anyone lost a seat per se, but because of our population and the population nationwide we have to put a few more people in each district,” Fernandez told FOX40. “As one of our commissioners said, you get to know your neighbors now.”
Commissioners note the keyword at this stage of the redistricting process is “draft,” as the maps approved by the commission this week are not set in stone and will likely see changes.
“We know they’re not perfect and with that, we’re just hoping Californians call in, write, give us feedback whatever it takes,” Fernandez said. “But also understand these districts have to be pretty close in population to one another. So if you want something in, you’ve got to take something out.”
For the next couple of weeks, the Citizens Redistricting Commission will be taking public comments on the draft maps before finalizing them ahead of their Dec. 27 deadline. Commissioners said they have set a goal to finish them Dec. 20.
The commission’s next public meeting is scheduled for Saturday. Californians can also submit feedback by clicking or tapping here.
To see the maps and more information on your possible district, click or tap here.