INFORMATION ABOUT THE REDISTRICTING PROCESS
AND FORMATION OF REDISTRICTING ADVISORY COMMITTEE
How are Hartnell College Trustees elected?
There are seven trustees on the Board of Trustees. Each one represents a specific geographic area, which is called a “trustee area” or election district. Residents of each trustee area vote only for candidates who live in their area. Candidates for each Board seat must live in the trustee area they will represent. This is called a by-district election system.
What is redistricting and why is it needed now?
Every 10 years, a new U.S. Census is conducted. Trustee areas must be relatively equal in total population using the new Census counts. Once new Census data are released, all jurisdictions must evaluate their trustee areas (adopted with 2010 Census data) to determine if they still have equal populations using the 2020 counts. If not, trustee area boundaries need to be adjusted to re-balance the trustee area populations. The redistricting process is governed by the U.S. Constitution, federal law, and California law.
When will the new trustee area map be used?
The new trustee areas will be in effect for the November 2022 election. The deadline for adoption of revised districting plans (February 28, 2022) allows time for the county Registrar of Voters to adjust precinct boundaries before the filing deadline for the November election.
What criteria are used to create trustee areas?
Federal and state laws require that the trustee areas be nearly equal in population using the most recent Census counts. Some variation is permitted, but the rule of thumb is that the difference between the most- and least-populous election districts should not exceed ten percent of the “ideal” district’s population, which is one-seventh of the jurisdiction’s total population. We understand that courts have generally accepted this standard for population equality (in school districts).
Federal law also requires that election districts must be drawn to respect protected race/ethnic groups so that their communities are neither divided nor overly concentrated in individual districts. Protected groups are race/ethnic/language groups, including Hispanics, African Americans, Asian Americans, and Native Americans (as well as some other groups).
In addition, the California Elections Code (Section 22000) lists criteria that may be taken into account during the redistricting (and initial districting process):
In adjusting the boundaries of the divisions, the board may give consideration to the following factors: (1) topography, (2) geography, (3) cohesiveness, contiguity, integrity, and compactness of territory, and (4) community of interests of the division.
Who decides which map to adopt?
Ultimately, the Board of Trustees will adopt an ordinance establishing election district boundaries by February 28, 2022. However, the Board is appointing a citizen’s Redistricting Advisory Committee (RAC). The RAC will be reviewing maps and providing a recommendation to the Board of Trustees.
Who is the Redistricting Advisory Committee (RAC)
This section will be updated with committee members once appointed by the Board. Meanwhile, interested community members should contact their trustee representative.
Contact information for trustees is online. You may also call the Office of the Superintendent/President
When will the process begin and end?
The RAC will have their first orientation meeting October 27, 2021. Additional meetings are scheduled for November 10, 2021, and December 8, 2021. If needed, a January 12, 2022 meeting is scheduled. The October 27, 2021 meeting will be held virtually and all others will be held at Hartnell College Main Campus, 411 Central Avenue, Salinas. The Board must adopt a plan by February 28, 2022.
Who creates the District’s maps and how can the public participate in the process?
We have hired professional demographers (Lapkoff & Gobalet Demographic Research, Inc.) to draft and revise maps for consideration by the public, the RAC, and the Trustees. Revisions of these draft maps will be made based on feedback received by the RAC and from community comments during the public hearings, Board meetings, or to a designated District staff member. Residents will be able to provide input about boundaries and suggest criteria for creating boundaries. The process will be transparent, and all residents will have the opportunity to suggest map revisions.
Members of the public can email Dr. Raul Rodriguez, Interim Superintendent/President (email@example.com) to provide comments about the redistricting maps, communities of interest, the process, etc. This feedback will be conveyed to the demographers and RAC.
What are communities of interest?
Recent California legislation for the state legislature, cities, and counties requires that communities of interest be taken into account when drawing plans, and when possible, our demographers will do this, too. A community of interest is a geographical area (such as a neighborhood) that would benefit from being in the same district because of shared interests, views, or characteristics. Downtown areas, historic districts, and housing subdivisions are a few examples of areas that would be communities of interest (there are many more).
Populations with similar demographic characteristics are sometimes considered communities of interest. These characteristics include the population’s race/ethnic composition, the language spoken at home, the area’s median income (and other socioeconomic characteristics), and the type of housing (for example, those in a public housing development or retirement community).
Defined regions like cities, school districts, school attendance areas may sometimes
be considered communities of interest. Geographic characteristics can identify communities,
such as those on one side of a highway, around a park, or another publicly-recognized
Has the pandemic affected the redistricting process?
Because of the COVID pandemic, the Census Bureau is about six months behind schedule in releasing data. This means that we have about half the amount of time to redistrict as we did in the past. As a result, timelines must be very short.
We may provide virtual meetings rather than in-person meetings, or have “hybrid” meetings, in which some people are in-person while others are available virtually.
What data are used when drawing maps?
Plans for election district boundaries will be based on the total population as counted in the 2020 Census, as well as criteria required by federal and state law.
In this round of redistricting, 2020 Census counts will be adjusted by the California Statewide Database (SWDB), which will assign prison inmates to their pre-incarceration home addresses. Congress, city councils, and county boards of supervisors must use these adjusted numbers. Although Hartnell College is not required to use the adjusted data, which will be available 4-6 weeks after the Census Bureau releases its redistricting database. Because timelines are already shortened as a result of the pandemic, we may begin redistricting using the unadjusted Census counts for drawing boundaries and then switch to adjusted counts 4-6 weeks later, when the SWDB releases its database.
We also use estimates of the Citizen Voting Age Population (CVAP, citizens 18+) for a limited number of race/ethnic categories (from the Census Bureau’s American Community Survey, or ACS) – to check Federal Voting Rights Act compliance. Data from this survey is also used to help identify communities of interest.
How long will the boundaries be in place?
By law, election district boundaries must be evaluated after each decennial census. The 2030 U.S. Census redistricting population counts will be released in 2031. If the trustee areas adopted in 2022 still have equal total population counts, the boundaries will not need to be adjusted. If the total populations are not equally distributed, the trustee area boundaries will need to be adjusted so that the 2030 population is distributed evenly in the seven trustee areas.
May redistricting plans respect incumbency so that there is only one governing board
member in each election district?
Avoidance of head-to-head contests between incumbents is permitted, but only after criteria prescribed by federal and state law are met. Boundaries that respect incumbency must be reasonable.
What will happen to current members of the Board of Trustees?
Current Board members will continue in office until the expiration of their terms and their successors are elected. The first elections using the new boundaries will be in November 2022. Because Board elections are staggered (two or three trustees elected in 2022 and the rest elected in November 2024), the new plan will be completely implemented in 2024. If current Trustees’ terms end in 2024, they will continue to sit on the Board until the 2024 election, even if they live in the same election district as a Board member elected in 2022.
What is the California Fair Maps Act of 2019 and does it apply to our District?
The California Fair Maps Act of 2019 (AB 849) applies to cities and counties, but not to school districts and special districts. However, Hartnell College might use some of these guidelines when it is reasonable to do so.
The Fair Maps Act lists the following criteria, in order of priority, that cities and counties should (or should not) use during plan drawing, after federal legal requirements are met:
- Geographic contiguity
- Communities of interest are respected.
- Other governmental boundaries (e.g., cities, school districts, established neighborhoods) may be used for election district boundaries.
- Boundaries are easily identifiable and understandable.
- Geographic compactness
Political parties are not to be considered.
There is no specific mention of incumbency, except that incumbency is not a community of interest.
In addition, the FAIR MAPS Act requires that cities and counties:
- Hold hearings so that members of the public can provide input on the placement of boundaries and on proposed boundary maps.
- Take steps to encourage the residents of the local jurisdiction to participate in the redistricting process.
Where can I learn more about redistricting, "Communities of Interest," and other parts of this process?
The League of Women Voters has a Redistricting Tool Kit:
The Mexican-American Legal Defense Fund (MALDEF), the National Association for the
Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) and the Asian American Legal Center co-wrote
"The Impact of Redistricting in Your Community."
The Brennan Center for Justice has two useful publications regarding districting and
Redistricting 101 https://www.ncsl.org/documents/redistricting/redistricting_101.pdf
A Citizen's Guide to Redistricting https://www.brennancenter.org/sites/default/files/analysis/a-citizens-guide-to-redistricting.pdf