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Who will redraw our districts?

Californians have until February 12, 2010 to apply for the first ever Citizens Redistricting Commission, established last year by a voter initiative.

The intent behind the new law was to de-politicize the highly-charged redistricting process and take it out of the hands of Sacramento insiders. It’s important to have a commission that reflects the diversity of our state, but the make-up of who’s applied so far is troubling.

California is a “majority minority” state with a roughly equal amount of men and women. Now compare that with the latest statistics on eligible applicants for the redistricting commission.

So far, people of color make up only 18.04% of the applicants. Women account for just 23.58% of the total and women of color make up a mere 5.32%. 22.76% of applicants came from Sacramento, by far the largest concentration. This is NOT the California we know.

Though Republicans make up only 31% of the populace, applicants from the party that voted for Prop 8 by 81% outnumber those from any other. Men were also more likely to vote for Prop 8 than women, all the more reason to push for a commission that reflects the actual demographics of our state.

Above all, we need to make sure that each and every commissioner is fair and accountable. The final commission has to have equal representation of Republicans, Democrats and Independents , but it’s important to have good representation from all parties apply. We can’t let anti-LGBT forces hijack this process. EQCA lobbied hard for the needs of LGBT people to be a consideration for the Commission, but we need LGBT people and allies to apply to make sure that actually happens.