California Citizens Redistricting Commission – Eligibility Requirements

 

Every ten years, the U.S. Census is performed, and based on that data, seats in the House of Representatives are apportioned to each state. In California, the new district lines for House and State legislative seats are drawn by the Citizens Redistricting Commission. Members of the Commission are selected from applications submitted by Californians who do not have a vested interest in the outcome based on their affiliations and professions over the past ten years. The non-partisan California State Auditor’s Office oversees the application and selection process. Learn more.

Timeline: (view graphic)
June 10 – Aug 9, 2019 –  online application period
Sept 12 – Feb 14, 2019 – Applicant Review Panel (ARP) identifies 120 of the most qualified applicants
Feb 18 – April 20, 2020 – ARP conducts interviews of the 120 applicants
April 21 – May 8, 2020 – ARP selects 60 of the most qualified applicants
May 15 – June 30, 2020 – ARP transmits list of the 60 applicants to the Legislature where applicants may be removed
No later than July 5, 2020 – State Auditor randomly selects the first eight commissioners

Bay Area Region Vice Chair Jason Clark recently wrote an article for BayAreaGOP.com on the application process. You can read that article at this link.

In order to ascertain further clarification about the criteria for eligibility, BayAreaGOP posed questions to the California State Auditor’s office and following is their response.

Thank you for your inquiry.  You ask whether serving in a variety of specified political or politically-affiliated positions disqualifies an individual from serving on the Citizens Redistricting Commission (Commission).

 

According to section 8252, subdivision (a)(2)(A) of the California Government Code, an applicant may not serve on the Commission if, during the 10 years immediately preceding the date of the individual’s application, the individual or a member of the individual ‘s immediate family with whom the individual has a bona fide, or special, relationship has:

 

Been appointed to, elected to, or has been a candidate for federal or state office; Served as an officer, employee, or paid consultant of a political party; Served as an officer, employee, or paid consultant of the campaign committee of a candidate for elective federal or state office; Served as an elected or appointed member of a political party central committee; Been a registered federal, state, or local lobbyist; Served as paid congressional, legislative, or State Board of Equalization staff; or Contributed $2,500 or more to any congressional, state, or local candidate for elective public office in any year.

 

You first ask whether serving as an officer of a “county party” is disqualifying.  Without more information, it is presumed that “county party” means a county-level political party central committee, defined in title 2, section 60823 of the California Code of Regulations as the designated body within a political party operating in California that directs the activities of the party within a particular county.  According to title 2, section 60822 of the California Code of Regulations, a political party is defined as a political party that is operating in California by making expenditures to support candidates for elective public office in the state or is recognized by the Secretary of State as a qualified political party as defined in section 5100 of the Elections Code. 

 

If by “county party” you mean a county-level political party central committee, then an individual’s service as an officer of the political party at any time in the last ten years from the date of the application is a conflict of interest, and would disqualify the individual from serving on the Citizens Redistricting Commission under the second category of conflicts listed above.  Likewise, an individual’s service as an elected or appointed member of a county-level political party central committee at any time in the last ten years from the date of the application is a conflict of interest, and would disqualify the individual from serving on the Citizens Redistricting Commission under the fourth category of conflicts listed above.  

 

You also ask if serving as a delegate to a state party convention is disqualifying.  Serving as a delegate to a state party convention, by itself, is not disqualifying under the conflict of interest rules listed above. 

 

You also ask if serving as an alternate or associate member of a county or state party is disqualifying.  Under the conflict of interest rules listed above, an individual is not disqualified from serving on the Citizens Redistricting Commission if the individual did not actually serve as an officer, employee, or paid consultant of a political party or as an elected or appointed member of a political party central committee.   The applicant is only made ineligible by having begun to serve, by either affirmatively or tacitly accepting the membership position.  Performing any of the duties of the position, such as attending central committee or political party meetings in the capacity of a member, participating in central committee or political party decisions, or representing oneself to others as a member of the central committee or political party would be clear evidence of having accepted a membership position and having begun to serve as a member.

 

Finally, you ask if an officer of a political party club or volunteer group is disqualifying.  Serving as an officer of a political party club or as part of a volunteer group is not disqualifying under the conflict of interest rules listed above. 

 

David King
Senior Staff Counsel
California State Auditor’s Office

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