Updated: Jan 20, 2022
On July 21st the Sacramento Independent Redistricting Commission (SIRC) held a town hall alongside city staff. Before we dive into the material, let’s do a brief recap of what the SIRC is.
If you need it for reference, here is the link for the SIRC page.
What is meant by redistricting?
Every 10 years the U.S. Census Bureau completes a census of the U.S. population. Based on this data, cities must redraw their council district lines to ensure equal populations in each district.
What is the SIRC?
In 2016 the Sacramento City Council approved a charter amendment that creates the SIRC and gives it the exclusive right to redraw district boundaries. It is composed of 13 community members, 8 of which were randomly selected by the Sacramento Ethics Commission, the remaining 5 (and 2 alternates) were subsequently chosen by the initial 8. Importantly members of the SIRC can have no ties to any government offices or elected officials.
What are the mapping requirements?
Council districts are substantially equal in population
The final map complies with state and federal law
Each district is geographically contiguous
*it’s also important to note that the SIRC cannot consider place of residence of any individual in the process of redrawing district lines - this includes elected officials and political candidates.
What priorities must be considered for mapping?
The following criteria are listed in order of importance in the consideration of redrawing district lines
Existing neighborhood & community boundaries
Communities of interest (those that share common social & economic interests)
Integrity & compactness of territory
Geography & topography
Natural & artificial barriers & boundaries
Preservation of population cores that have consistently been associated w/district lines
Other commission adopted criteria
How can you get involved?
The mapping application (with practice data) is up and running! In September the data will be updated to reflect the official results of the census. This mapping tool will allow people/community organizations to submit their own district line proposals and suggestions. You can also attend community meetings! The schedule can be found below:
*note that all meetings are currently online, staff are aiming to have a hybrid model available by July/August
You can also:
Submit eComments on a Commission posted agenda on the City website.
Submit comments anytime on the City’s redistricting website. Comments will be available for the public and the commissioners to review.
So what was this meeting all about?
This meeting began with an informative video about the redistricting process and how it applies to Sacramento council districts. This particular meeting was to be centered around D5 (Jay Schenirer - pictured below). After the video, the floor was opened for public comment.
Public comment mostly centered around folx from the community calling in and advocating for how they believe districts should be divided up. One important call came in from an advocate from Equality California. This person called in to draw attention to the large LGBTQ+ community living in Districts 4 & 5, and asked that these communities not be combined into one district, so as to avoid diluting their voting power.
If you want to be part of these conversations, hop onto the next meeting call! You don’t have to reside in that particular district to attend. The commissioners seem very open to receiving feedback! Additionally, if you sign up for email alerts you will be able to better track updates and events for the SIRC.
It is important to note that the deadline for inputting district lines using the mapping tool is November 7th, a final decision will be made in December of this year.