Following the unanimous approval of the redistricting map that will define California's state lines for the next ten years, Ethnic Media Services opened a space to find out how the maps, both state and local, will affect ethnic and minority communities in California.
"The redistricting process in California was shaped by state propositions 11 and 20. It was a two-year process created to ensure that commissioners were competent and of high quality, and that no political party was favored," said Paul Mitchell, owner of Redistricting Partners and vice president of Political Data Inc.
Redistricting Partners is a company that brings together experts in political voting behavior and geographic information to advise states and counties in the redistricting process. It has currently advised more than 90 local authorities in the United States on the development of the new maps.
Mitchell noted that one of the biggest challenges they faced in the California process was the increase in minorities, who are scattered throughout the state.
But he pointed out the importance of these minority communities being taken into account in the redistribution, so that they have a voice and a vote in the election of their representatives.
California vs. the rest of the United States
Unlike other states, the California state commissioners decided to open the redistricting map proposals to the public and listen to their input and comments.
Jonathan Mehta Stein, executive director of California Common Cause, noted that nearly 1,300 people were able to give the commission feedback and that they received more than 3,900 comments as well as 32,000 written opinions.
Mehta Stein compared this process to that of other states, where, he says, the population did not have a say and that it is more of a political exercise in which the parties determine the localities where each party will have a presence.
Thomas Saénz, who is part of the Mexican-American Legal Defense and Educational Fund (MALDEF), stressed the importance of taking into account all voting minorities, since, in his view, they can change the course of politics, and they deserve to be represented by the candidates they elect.
Finally, he pointed out that the idea that a minority only votes for candidates of the same ethnicity should be set aside, since it has been demonstrated in elections that ethnic groups do not have a predisposition to vote, but rather make a conscious analysis of candidates.
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