Frequently Asked Questions

What is redistricting?

Redistricting is the process where district lines are redrawn to reflect population change using Census data every 10 years. This includes drawing districts for Congress, State Board of Equalization, State Senate, State Assembly, county boards of supervisors, city councils, school boards, and special district boards. This applies only to local governments that elect representatives by district, and not to those for which the representatives serve at-large.

Who draws the lines?

On Apr 20, 2021 Alameda County Board of Supervisors (BOS) voted to draw their own district lines. Citizens Redistricting Commission (CRC) is going to draw lines and chose their final maps in 4 counties (Los Angeles, San Diego, San Francisco, Santa Barbara). Santa Clara county decided for CRC to draw the lines and BOS chose the final map. There are 4 choices shown in the table below.

Redistricting options

What are the rules?

There is a specific set of ranked criteria to be followed in drawing new district lines. These are:

  1. Population equality

  2. Compliance with the federal Voting Rights Act of 1965: Minority protection

  3. Contiguity

  4. Minimize division of local neighborhoods or local communities of interest

  5. Minimize division of cities and Census-Designated Places (“CDP”s)

  6. Use easily identifiable natural and artificial boundaries to ensure districts are understandable to the residents

  7. Geographical compactness

In addition, the Board is required to hold a minimum of four public hearings, do significant public outreach, including to underrepresented and non-English speaking communities.

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What do each of the ranked criteria mean?

Population equality: A requirement that political districts have a “reasonably equal” number of residents.

Compliance with the federal Voting Rights Act (VRA) of 1965: The VRA protects against diluting a racial minority’s vote.

Contiguity: All parts of a district must be physically connected to each other.

Community of interest: The California Constitution defines a community of interest as a population which shares common social and economic interests that should be included within a single district for purposes of its effective and fair representation.

Compactness: where practicable, districts should not be too elongated or spread out or too jagged.

How can we ensure that people without access to technology will have their voices heard?

Use the trusted messengers in your community to help get the word out. If you are a trusted messenger, help us to develop the materials and access points needed to ensure necessary and culturally competent access.

How do I describe my community?

Where is your community located? Describe the boundaries of the community -- streets, highways, rail roads, landmarks, natural boundaries (waters and hills).

Think about what brings your community together -- what binds it as a community or neighborhood. Some examples:

  • shared interests in schools, housing, community safety, transit, health conditions, land use, environmental concerns

  • common social and civic networks, including churches, mosques, temples, homeowner associations, and community centers, and shared use of community spaces, like parks and shopping centers;

  • racial and ethnic compositions, cultural identities, and households that predominantly speak a language other than English;

  • similar socio-economic status, including but not limited to income, home-ownership, and education levels;

  • shared political boundary lines from other jurisdictions, such as school districts, community college districts, and water districts.

What neighboring areas would be best to combine your community with?

What is the timeline for 2021 redistricting?

NOTE: These dates are all subject to change

Spring-Summer: Education presentation and public input meetings

August 15-30, 2021: Census Data Expected to the State

September 30-October 31, 2021: Census data with prison population adjustment to the county. (In CA people currently in prison are to be counted as living in their homes rather than where they are imprisoned.)

September-October, 2021: Public Input Meetings/Line Drawing Sessions (Pre district maps)

October-November, 2021: Draft District Maps Released

November, 2021: Public Input Meetings/Line Drawing Sessions (Post district maps)

November 30, 2021: Adjusted maps to be presented to the Board of Supervisors, and their first vote on the maps taken.

December 15, 2021: Board of supervisors adopts a final map.

New maps will be used for the Primary Election in June 2022.

Why the rush?

Between delayed delivery of the 2020 Census data to draw maps, and the June 2022 primary election, we have a compressed timeline. One of the requirements is to get sufficient community input. In order to ensure community voices to be heard, we need to start now to educate communities so that they could define what our community boundaries are, and that the BOS to respect those boundaries when drawing the new district lines.

Is County Redistricting effort partisan?

No. Local elected officials including county supervisors are nonpartisan. The goal of our coalition is to ensure a transparent redistricting process prioritizing communities and their people in Alameda County, that results a fair map to represent our diverse population equitably.

Is it about unseating a supervisor?

No. It is about community representation. Redistricting is the process in which districts are drawn to determine how communities are represented. Our goal is to ensure that community voices are heard in the redistricting process, and that, as much as possible, communities within the County are kept whole within districts.

Won't the County do what the Coalition is asking anyway?

The County Board of Supervisors will draw new maps, and comply with the law - they will meet the minimum number of public hearings, and public outreach.

However it does not guarantee that all community voices will be heard and responded to. Alameda County is the Nation's 4th in diversity, and 20th in population. It will take time and all of us to reach our communities and their members. After all nobody knows about our communities more than us- who live in the communities.

What's the difference between reapportionment and redistricting?

Reapportionment is the process of allocating the number of seats in the House of Representatives each state will have based on the census data. Redistricting is the process of drawing district lines within the state for the House of Representatives, and other representative bodies, including the Alameda County Board of Supervisors.

Where can I go to get help drawing my map?

More information about this item will be available as the process evolves.

California Citizens Redistricting Commission mapping tool: Draw My CA Community is ready.

Where can I get information about redistricting in my community?

More information about this item will be available as the process evolves.

Besides educating myself, how can I get involved?

1. Sign our petition to ask the Alameda County Board of Supervisors to start outreach and education now, and protect community of interest.

2. Join our coalition.

3. Spread the word about the coalition (website, Facebook and Instagram)

Learn more