Census

Choosing Your Political District? There's a Tool for That

Unlike other states where politicians decide, California uses this bi-partisan commission that in turn relies on public input, and they're already getting calls.

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Redistricting political boundaries based on the recent U.S Census is happening in California.

Your address may not change, but there's a chance the political and school districts you vote in will.

The 2021 Census data shows slow growth in California's population compared to other states, which means for the first time in history, California will lose one congressional representative.

"How those lines are drawn can often be the difference between whether a Democrat or Republican is running and winning, whether a person of color or not, a woman or not," Sara Sadhwani, a commissioner on the California Citizens Redistricting Commission, told the NBC4 I-Team.

"It impacts the lives of so many people through the funding streams of millions of dollars that will ultimately trickled down to communities on the ground," she added.

Sadhwani is part of a 14-member group comprised of five Republicans, five Democrats and 4 people not affiliated with either party. They'll make the final decisions on district boundaries.

Unlike other states where politicians decide, California uses this bi-partisan commission that in turn relies on public input, and they're already getting calls.

"We've had a number of folks calling in from Orange County, from that Little Saigon area, calling and saying 'we want better representation. currently the lines split our community into three different congressional districts and we want to be kept together into one community," Sadhwani said.

"As a second generation Vietnamese American business owner in Little Saigon, I've called in multiple times for the redistricting," Tam Nguyen told the I-Team.

Nguyen says what happens now will affect future generations.

"Little Saigon is the largest collection of Vietnamese outside of Vietnam. It is critical that we stay united as a block," he said, adding that issues like schools, healthcare and small businesses in a good environment are important to the community.

California remains the state with the largest population, but its population only increased 6.1% over the last decade, according to the U.S. Census 2020.

That amounted to less than the average growth across the country at 7.4%. Los Angeles County showed even less growth at 2%.

Census data suggests people moved east and south of LA County.

U.S. Representative Katie Porter's District 45 in Orange County which includes Anaheim, Orange and Mission Viejo was up more than 15% compared to 10 years ago.

"In many local communities, there are also engaging in local redistricting efforts for your school boards, for your city councils, for your Board of Supervisors, for your counties," said Sadwhani, who is also professor of politics at Pomona College.

There's time to get involved before districts are decided. An online tool lets you can create the district you want to see and send it to the commission. https://drawmycacommunity.org/

The commission has asked for an extension to mid-January to finalize new district maps and take public comment.

A decision by the California Supreme Court is pending, according to a commission spokesperson.

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