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San Luis Obispo County redistricting process is underway

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Posted at 7:14 PM, Nov 04, 2021
and last updated 2021-11-05 00:46:22-04

Every 10 years, supervisorial districts must be redrawn to make sure populations in each district are roughly equal. It’s a process known as redistricting.

Redistricting is done using U.S. Census data and only happens once a decade. In San Luis Obispo County, there are five districts each with an elected supervisor.

Making sure each district has roughly the same number of people is important when it comes to representation.

“In a district that has twice as many voters as one that dilutes your individual voting strengthen by 50%," said Mike Latner, a Cal Poly professor of Political Science and Public Policy.

Elected officials will represent that district and shape public policy.

“Our county public health, fire and law enforcement, county planning is a huge part of what the board of supervisors does. They pass ordinances, for instance, vacation rental ordinances that affected anyone living in unincorporated areas. They set fees for trash and other things like that," said Julie Rodewald, Voter Services Director for the League of Women Voters.

Districts are drawn to equalize the population and are not allowed to favor a specific community.

"Districts cannot be drawn to either favor or discriminate political parties," Rodewald said.

While political affiliations are not allowed to be taken into consideration when redrawing the district, the board of supervisors has the final say. Some hope this changes to an independent commission run by citizens instead.

"State legislators are much more biased when you have the legislators choosing their own districts and their own voters for effective purposes as opposed to having an independent commission instead. So I am hoping this is the last time San Luis Obispo lets the board of supervisors choose their own voters," Latner said.

For the County of San Luis Obispo, the redistricting process must be completed by December 15.

Another public hearing will be held on November 19, and the community is encouraged to participate in public hearings or submit a proposed map. More information can be found here.

Santa Barbara County residents can review proposed maps on the redistricting commission's website and can also participate in public meetings. More information can be found through this website.