Redistricting is the process of adjusting lines of voting districts in accordance with population shifts. In California, cities, counties, and other public agencies must rebalance the population of their districts every ten years after the release of the US Census Data to ensure equal representation.
All district lines must be reviewed to meet strict state, federal and local requirements to ensure a fair and transparent process. The City of Martinez must follow the California FAIR MAPS Act, the federal Voting Rights Act, and the City’s Resolution 21, which established the Independent Redistricting Commission.
Redistricting determines which neighborhoods and communities are grouped together into a district for purposes of electing a Councilmember. You have an opportunity to share with the City Council how you think district boundaries should be drawn to best represent your community. Share your input during the public hearings or by submitting comments to email@example.com.
In accordance with federal, state, and county law, the Commission must draw district lines pursuant to the following criteria, which are listed in order of priority:
- Federal Laws
- Equal Population (based on the total population of residents as determined by the most recent Federal decennial Census and adjusted by the State to reassign incarcerated persons to the last known place of residence)
- Federal Voting Rights Act
- No Racial Gerrymandering
- California Criteria for Cities (to the extent practicable and in the following order of priority)
- Districts shall be geographically contiguous (Areas that meet only at the points of adjoining corners are not contiguous. Areas that are separated by water and not connected by a bridge, tunnel, or ferry service are not contiguous.)
- Districts shall not divide neighborhoods and “communities of interest” (Socio-economic geographic areas that should be kept together for purposes of effective and fair representation)
- Districts shall have easily identifiable boundaries
- Districts shall be compact (Districts shall not bypass a nearby population to get to a more distant population)
- Districts shall not be drawn to favor or discriminate against a political party
- Districts shall not be drawn to favor incumbents
- Other Traditional Redistricting Principles
- Minimize voters shifted to different election years
- Respect voters’ choices/continuity in office
- Account for future population growth
- Preserve the core of existing districts
A community of interest is a “contiguous population that shares common social and economic interests that should be included within a single district for purposes of its effective and fair representation.”
Below are useful excerpts from the Local Government Redistricting Toolkit by Asian Americans Advancing Justice – Asian Law Caucus (2020)
Communities of interest are the overlapping sets of neighborhoods, networks, and groups that share interests, views, cultures, histories, languages, and values and whose boundaries can be identified on a map.
The following elements help define communities of interest:
- shared interests in schools, housing, community safety, transit, health conditions, land use, environmental conditions, and/or other issues;
- 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.
The Independent Redistricting Commission will reach out to local media to publicize the redistricting process. Also, we will make a good faith effort to notify community groups of various kinds about the redistricting process. The Independent Redistricting Commission will notify the public about redistricting hearings or workshops, post maps online before adoption, and create a dedicated web page for all relevant information about the redistricting process.
Share your specific thoughts, draw a map, or attend an upcoming meeting to get involved!
- Submit written testimony about the process or a specific map to firstname.lastname@example.org
- Click here to see the calendar of workshops and public hearings at which you can speak about the process or a specific map.
- Click here for information on drawing and submitting maps.
At the hearings and workshops, we want you to:
- Define your neighborhood or community of interest
- Explain why redistricting is relevant to your community
- Get the tools you need to draw a map of one district or of all six districts
- Share your opinions of the draft maps
- Talk to your neighbors and local organizations
Common acronyms demographic categories:
- NH: Non-Hispanic
- VAP: Voting age population
- CVAP: Citizen Voting Age Population
- FAIR MAPS Act: Fair And Inclusive Redistricting for Municipalities and Political Subdivisions
No, you do not need to submit a fully completed map. You can draw boundaries for only your neighborhood or only a portion of the city. It is helpful if you submit written commentary with your map describing why the particular neighborhood or area should be kept together in a single district.
Yes, you may submit more than one map. Please draw as many maps as you like. We suggest you submit only your top 2-3 preferred maps to assist the City Council in focusing on the map that best represents your community; however, there is no limit.
Once submitted, maps are considered public records.
Online publications and guides to redistricting: