Last week I extended the deadline to submit applications for California’s 2020 Citizens Redistricting Commission. Unlike other states, more than 10 years ago, by a vote of the people, Californians took redistricting out of the hands of politicians and put it in the hands of the public. Specifically, 14 individuals with a history of voting and no recent political ties will be in charge of redrawing new maps for congressional, state legislative and Board of Equalization districts. A decade ago, that process was a success, and I have no doubt once the new commission is formed, it will be again.
The challenge before us is not only to ensure eligible applicants that are representative of California’s rich diversity know of this opportunity to apply, but also to get them to apply. Since applications opened on June 10, more than 17,790 applications have been submitted, and we’ve seen a greater uptick in the last week. In fact, in the last few days we’ve seen a huge increase in the daily application numbers. With every hour we are getting a more diverse pool, but we still need more — more Central Valley voters, women, Latinos, blacks and African Americans, Asian American and Asian Pacific Islander Californians, Native Americans and more from all communities. That is one of the reasons I have extended the deadline until 5 p.m. Aug. 19.
There are many groups and individuals in California who have been working with my office since the beginning of this process and represent non-governmental organizations, community-based organizations and other groups who work with Californians from every ethnicity and culture. They have pledged to redouble their efforts — as my office is also doing — during this extension period to help increase the numbers. Because everyone must do their part.
Serena Alvarez, President of League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC) of Santa Clara, said this about the extension, “This is an opportunity of a decade. LULAC and the Dolores Huerta Foundation urge members of our Latinx communities to apply for the Citizens Redistricting Commission. We need Latinx and other diverse community members with a passion for civic engagement to take part in creating fair and transparent district boundaries that serve the best interests of the people of California. We’re all needed to ensure fair representation for all Californians. We’re out spreading the word – don’t miss this opportunity to make sure your community’s voice is heard.”
So now it’s up to you. With every passing day we are getting a bigger cross section of Californians applying. In fact, you can see information about who is applying on our website, which we update daily. But the numbers will only go up if you apply.
This has been a very exciting process and extending it a few more days will give even more Californians the chance to participate in this crucial exercise in direct democracy. So, go ahead and apply today at ShapeCaliforniasFuture.auditor.ca.gov.
View Original Publication: Bakersfield Californian