Since the California Redistricting Commission released it’s First Draft District Maps on June 9, there has been discontent from citizens regarding the district shapes that most of majority votes fall into. In regards to the new district lines, articles writen for KPBS Public Radio to The Los Angles Times reflect the attitude of majority groups. It seems that group action is inevitable when it comes to a growing, political population and voting rights. Now that the last public comments on the redistricting are coming to an end on June 28, citizens are more than ever taking action. Of course this is the issue, the more concentrated the population of one party, in a area, the more the majority control is secured. Come election time, this could make or break an candidate.
KPBS San Diego Public Radio found a interesting view on the situation. The news station interviewed University of San Diego students about the redistricting and how they felt about the change. Ironically, at the college, there was a semester class dedicated to study the impacts of the redistricting. Professor Alberto Pulido is the faculty member leading the class.
“Every vote of every citizen in our nation should count regardless of your status, regardless of your class, regardless of where you live, so I was intrigued by that,” Pulido said. “But I had no idea that this issue was as important as it was and I never understood how complex it was.”
The buzz regarding the first draft got people talking. Even though the second daft that was released on June 12 was revised from data and open public testimony, currently hispanic advocacy groups are challenging the commissions decisions. Activist groups claim that the new districts are reducing the Latino majority in some of the more dominant Latino communities in California by by almost 20 percent according a report published on Mercury News.com by by Gillian Flaccus and Don Thompson of the Associated Press.
Some groups such as the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund or “MALDEF” claim that the new maps are in violation of the 1965 Voting Rights Act. In the same article, Rosalind Gold, senior policy director at the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials Educational Fund implied about the importance of being heard and represented correctly.
“Now that we have these maps, now that we know we are dealing with some real challenges for our community, it’s critical that Latinos get out to the meetings and testify,” Gold said.
As the citizen testimonial comes to a close, decisions are still be challenged and the state awaits the final map which need to be finished by Aug. 15 of this year. The commission said, from the Mercury News report, that there decisions were based on population rather than the voting, The Voting Act is second priority to making sure the population in the districts are even. In the unlikely scenario that the commission does not come to agreement on final district boundaries the matter goes directly to the California Supreme Court which will appoint three masters to draw the lines.