By December, Alameda County must adopt final district maps. The public’s input on how the redistricting process should go will be critical. As mandated every 10 years alongside the completion of the U.S. Census, local and regional governments must undergo a redistricting process. Elected officials will consider state law, as they draft solutions and maps to account for changes in population.
The county will hold a meeting to draw the draft map on Oct. 26, followed by several special board meetings throughout the month of November to garner feedback before a late December adoption.
Retired mathematician Joseph Grcar, who once worked for government labs in Livermore and Berkeley, said the community’s voice will be critical in this process. In an extensive research white paper, which he sent to Alameda County officials, Grcar noted that the current lines have created gerrymandered districts. The supervisors will need to do more than make subtle adjustments in order to comply with California Elections Code laws.
Elected officials across the region are calling for public input during the meetings. The county’s redistricting website (redistricting2021.acgov.org) allows visitors to submit “Community of Interest'' applications. A Community of Interest is a population that shares common social or economic interests that should be included within a single supervisorial district for purposes of fair representation.
According to the Elections Code, “Supervisorial districts shall be geographically contiguous. Areas that meet only at the points of adjoining corners are not contiguous.” In other words, regions with shared interests shouldn’t be divided. Through the website, individuals and organizations can geographically identify their Community of Interest within the Alameda County boundaries. (https://redistricting2021.acgov.org/communities-of-interest)
Prioritizing fair representation of communities and their people is something the entire county should support. The lines we draw in the coming months will impact us for the next 10 years.