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Orange County Set to Redistrict

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The Orange County Board of Supervisors met with the general public to review and discuss maps for the redistricting of the county on Nov. 2 and Nov. 9. This adjustment of the voting district lines is completed every 10 years in accordance with changes to the county’s population. 

According to Cal State Fullerton Center for Demographic Research Director Deborah Diep, the goal is to distribute the population equally based on the number of board member representatives. 

For fair distribution, consideration of groups with similar ethnic or religious backgrounds in shared neighborhoods should be accounted for since district lines can either strengthen or weaken each sect’s voting power. In fact, for proper redistricting to occur in accordance with the criteria set by the OC Clerk of the Board.

“[T]he geographic integrity of local neighborhoods or communities shall be respected in a manner that minimizes its division,” the Board said.

Latino and Asian American populations are examples of said groups — with their overall population in OC having grown significantly during the past two decades. 

Redistricting must also make geographical sense. 

“Each supervisorial district should share a common border with the next,” stated another of the Board’s requirements.  

According to the Board, this must include “easily identifiable boundaries that follow natural or artificial barriers (rivers, streets, highways, rail lines, etc.),” with lines drawn in encouragement of geographical compactness. 

The redistricting will determine where people can elect such figures as state legislatures, county or city council members, school board agents and U.S. House Representatives. With three of the Board’s five members up for election next year, political neutrality is crucial for a fair re-drawing. If redistricting is done fairly by the Board’s terms, its boundaries “shall not be drawn for purposes of favoring or discriminating against a political party.” 

Residents are encouraged to participate in the redistricting. Public participation will be available again on Nov. 16, when a single map will be selected for the preparation of the ordinance. The  ordinance will occur between Nov. 24 and Nov. 30. Another public hearing for the final redistricting ordinance will be held on Dec. 7, before the Board’s final approval on Dec. 15.

Further information regarding the redistricting process along with a general calendar and timeline of actions, public comments and meeting minutes can be found at the County’s Redistricting Website. Public comments and proposals are welcomed through redistricting@ocgov.com or by calling (714) 834-6000. 

Erin Boshers is a City News Intern for the fall 2021 quarter. She can be reached at eboshers@uci.edu.