For the hundreds of jurisdictions in California with by-district elections, the 2021 redistricting process is right around the corner. Is your agency ready?
Here are three tips to keep in mind as you head into 2021:
- Start planning now. Redistricting might not be on your radar right now since the deadlines for map adoption are more than a year out: December 2021 for counties and cities with June 2022 elections, April 2022 for counties and cities with November 2022 elections, and May 2022 for special districts. However, unlike a decade ago, there are hundreds of local government agencies throughout California that will be facing their first redistricting process. This will create strain on experts and redistricting capacity over an 18-month window. Start internal meetings and planning for redistricting now to ensure everyone is on the same page about the timeline and resources needed for the process. Moving early to line up resources and consultants soon would be wise.
- Get ready to be flexible this year. The 2020 Census data delivery to states, originally scheduled for April, will likely be delayed. It’s possible we won’t receive this data with prison-adjusted counts until August. This uncertainty means that all agencies, especially counties and cities with June 2022 elections, will need to prepare to shift and condense their redistricting timelines. Additionally, your agency should be prepared to adjust to changing conditions around COVID-19 in 2021. Some of your public meetings may happen as California begins to reopen. You should outline plans to host virtual and in-person meetings so you’re ready to meet the moment. Given the increased opportunities for participation that virtual meetings provide for many residents, you should consider offering virtual meetings and workshops regardless of the status of the pandemic.
- Bring in the experts. Redistricting is a complicated process even in normal times. Most jurisdictions in California do not have the in-house expertise or capacity to navigate the legal requirements, demographic work and public outreach process related to redistricting. Don’t risk messing up your maps or opening yourself up to lawsuits by failing to contract an expert demographer, legal counsel and outreach firm.
This year, with the new criteria and public outreach requirements laid out in AB 849 and AB 1276, it’s more important than ever to have a strong team of consultants to help you navigate the redistricting process.
2021 is going to be a busy year. Visit our redistricting webpage or get in touch with Tripepi Smith President Ryder Todd Smith (626.536.2173 | Ryder@TripepiSmith.com) to start planning your outreach process.