Applicants For Potent State Redistricting Panel Too White So Far

We told you how a proposition passed in 2008 has transferred power for redistricting legislative seats from Sacramento to a 14-member citizens' commission. Well, that panel is missing one key ingredient: You. Particularly if you're part of the majority in the state who is not white.

The application process is still ongoing (deadline is Feb. 12) and is open to most registered voters who have voted in two of the last three elections and who have had a consistent affiliation with one party for the last five years. However, officials are concerned that not enough nonwhites have applied.

"This is where communities could be divided and that could in the future lessen their political clout and leave them with less than adequate representation," Orson Aguilar, director of the Greenlining Institute, which is working to increase minority participation on the panel, told Associated Press.

According to the AP: Asians make up 12 percent of the state's population but only four percent of the applicants for the commission so far. Latinos make up 37 percent of California's population but only nine percent of the panel's applicants. African-Americans, at seven percent of the applicants, are nearly on-par with their state-voter percentage of six percent.

The state auditor's office will whittle applicants down to 60, including 20 Democrats, 20 Republicans, and 20 "other party" members. The major parties collectively will be able to strike 24 total names, and the state auditor will chose the final 14. That group will get to redraw the lines for the state senate, assembly and Board of Equalization districts.


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