Representation Matters

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The boundaries of the five Alameda County Supervisorial Districts will be redrawn in 2021 and we respectfully ask the Board of Supervisors to establish an equitable redistricting plan with robust public outreach.

We appreciate the Board’s dedication to inclusion and civic engagement. As such, the redistricting plan should include sufficient time and funding to engage communities in an inclusive manner. Meetings should be held at diverse times and days, before and after district maps are drawn. Communities should be empowered to provide input through various platforms and technological portals that allow real time engagement with draft maps. Leveraging the recent network developed to support the Complete Count as well as the Municipal Advisory Councils (MAC) can advance voting rights through civic engagement and ensure broad outreach throughout the county. In this way, the County district boundaries can be redrawn to ensure that representation is spread evenly. 


Why does this matter?

With the completion of the 2020 Census, the Board of Supervisors will reconsider the boundaries for the five Supervisorial districts. With a budget of $3.5 billion per year and 1.7 million constituents, Alameda County has considerable influence and impact. The county budgets $2,000 per resident, much of it on social services and critical infrastructure like public health and safety. The partitioning of election districts determines how our communities are represented on the board, how many votes a particular area has on issues, and which communities are divided or consolidated. The final maps approved in 2021 will be in place for the next 10 years.

Until recently, there were few requirements that redistricting be fair and transparent. Historically, marginalized communities had little engagement. In fact, the 2011 county redistricting had significantly less public engagement, i.e. fewer meetings, and less transparency, than it did in 2001.

Consistent with the letter* submitted earlier this year by the League of Women Voters, we see an opportunity for the upcoming round of redistricting in 2021, to engage more deeply with marginalized communities. A new law (AB 849, Bonta) mandates criteria for standardized and fair redistricting. It keeps neighborhoods and diverse communities intact, and prohibits partisan gerrymandering. The law requires local governments to engage communities in the redistricting process, to hold a minimum number of public hearings, and to reach out to non-English-speaking communities. The Complete Count for the 2020 Census has brought together a network of partners and digital platforms for meaningful community engagement that can be leveraged for this effort.

We’d also urge the County to adopt the best practices guide** developed by Asian Americans Advancing Justice–Asian Law Caucus, to reach out to all communities, especially historically underrepresented populations. Now is the time for the county to fully embrace the spirit of AB 849 and to be a model of inclusion and transparency.