BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KERO) — Tuesday the Kern County Board of Supervisors received the final demographic information from the 2020 Census. These results will be used to re-draw the five districts that make up the board representation.
Kern County is made up of five different districts and political analyst Ivy Cargile said the lines of the districts are more important than one might think, and they could soon change.
“It’s just the division of a particular geographic area for purposes of representation whether it be at board of supervisors at the county level or whether it be for state assembly, state senate, or for the house of representatives,” said Cargile.
What is redistricting?
Redistricting is the way we change the districts that determine who represents us.
Most of our federal legislators, all of our state legislators, and many of our local legislators in towns and counties are elected from districts. These districts divide states and the people who live there into geographical territories. Districts are occasionally the same size as the whole jurisdiction: members of a local school board, for example, may each be elected from an area with the same boundaries as the overall school district the board governs. Most of the time, though, district lines subdivide territory, so that there are several districts within one city or state, and representatives for each separate district. When that happens, we need some way to decide where the lines will be drawn.
[The U.S. Supreme Court] required roughly equal population for each legislative district. This meant that district boundaries would have to be periodically readjusted, to account for new population information. So now, after the Census is conducted at the start of a new decade, district boundaries have to be redrawn.
This is the process we know as redistricting.
Redistricting is the process of drawing the lines of districts from which officials are elected and reflects population changes and racial diversity.
“Really the idea here is to try and make representation as equitable as possible, and also for purposes of resources, making sure there are sufficient money and resources in any given district based on population size,” said Cargile.
What’s the difference between redistricting and gerrymandering?
The process of redistricting is lawful and equitable when it’s conducted properly. It is also frequently a necessary process to reflect changes in population changes and racial diversity after each decennial Census. When redistricting is used as a tool to manipulate electoral outcomes or discriminate against certain groups, it ceases to be lawful and equitable, and we call it gerrymandering.
In 2018 a federal court ruled that a previous Kern County redistricting plan had violated the rights of Latinos.
Additional public hearings for the redistricting maps will be held in late October and November at the board of supervisor's meeting.