Redistribution in Santa Barbara County relies on community participation
The right to vote is one of our most basic rights as Americans – we have the right to be represented equally and fairly. Our county is redistributing, which means we are assessing the current surveillance district boundaries and redrawing the five districts based on the 2020 federal census to account for changes in the county’s population and to comply with the California Fair. Maps Act. This process relies on community members who determine what the Santa Barbara County District Board of Directors should look like.
The redistribution takes place every 10 years after the federal census and requires that all electoral districts be roughly equal in population. Measure G, a county ordinance passed in 2018, requires this 10-year process to be led by the Santa Barbara County Independent Citizen Redistribution Commission (SBCIRC): a non-partisan commission made up of 11 Santa Barbara County residents. The mission of the SBCIRC is to determine the boundaries of the county surveillance district based on maps submitted by the community to meet state legal requirements, and to accurately represent and empower the various communities in our county.
We are honored to be chairman and vice-chairman of this commission. The top priority of SBCIRC is to involve our diverse communities. We know it is in the best interests of the county that residents of every ward and community share their thoughts on what your watch districts should look like.
What do you think are your “communities of interest” – areas across the county where people share common social or economic priorities? It could be a neighborhood surrounding a business or school district, an area with common interests in a geographic or ecological landmark, or a neighborhood that shares a language other than English. By defining your communities of interest, your contribution will help SBCIRC to properly consider the impacts of changes to district boundaries. Submit your thoughts on local “communities of interest” by email to [email protected], the SBCIRC website at drawsantabarbaracounty.org or during public comment at our hearing on Wednesday October 6 at 6 p.m. in the Betteravia Courtroom (511 Lakeside Parkway, Santa Maria, CA) or via Zoom.
Get more involved by drawing cards and asking others to do the same! This allows you to have an even more direct impact on this process. It’s easier than you might think; residents can use the online county mapping tools available at drawsantabaracounty.org or physically draw maps using paper models available at our meetings or that can be downloaded from the website and mailed to the board. Residents can draw all five of the county’s districts or just one. These maps, along with an explanation of why the residents drew the lines where they did, will help us inform us of your priorities and identities that should be preserved and represented on the County Oversight Board.
Unfortunately, delays in releasing the census data that inform these maps severely limits the time needed to review and adopt a final map. We have just received the official data. Despite these challenges, the state has set December 15, 2021 as the deadline for our department to adopt a definitive card.
It’s a sprint for the next few weeks – that’s all the time you have to draw and submit maps for the board’s review. The card submission deadline is October 18, in order to give the commission sufficient time to select a final card by December 15, 2021.
The final map will largely decide – including how residents vote, which communities they vote with, and which county supervisory board will represent them after the June 2022 election and in all elections for the next few. decade.
We cannot achieve our goal of creating the fairest and most equitable county district map without your to help. Get started today by visiting drawsantabarbaracounty.org.
Glenn Morris, 5th arrondissement, is president and Megan Turley, 2nd arrondissement, is vice-chair of the Santa Barbara County Independent Citizen Redistribution Commission.