Pictured: Current supervisor districts in Ventura County, drawn in 2010.
by Kimberly Rivers
Every 10 years, with the release of new census data, local governments must redraw the lines of electoral districts, including county supervisorial districts. This year, due to the late release of the census numbers as a result of the pandemic, municipalities have a shorter window in which to complete the redistricting process, which must be complete by Dec. 15.
Ventura County is currently engaged in the redistricting process to redraw the county supervisorial district based on the new census data.
The census data released will also be used to determine federal representation and has resulted in California losing seats as state population numbers have declined.
The Ventura County Board of Supervisors is hosting online and telephonic public meetings to inform the public and receive input.
Five online meetings began on Tuesday, Aug. 31, and will continue through Sept. 13. These meetings present the public with an opportunity to give the supervisors input on how the districts should be drawn based on the new census data.
Data released indicates a 2.7% increase in population within Ventura County. In 2010, the previous census, the county population was 823,318. The 2020 Census, counted in 2019, came in at 843,843. Each district should be as close in population as possible.
The current public input period will be followed by more public meetings where the draft maps of the new proposed districts will be available for review and comment.
State law mandates certain requirements about districts. Changes since the last redistricting 10 years ago also prohibit attempts to create new districts that allow current elected officials to remain in office.
Requirements include that districts must share borders with each other, that local neighborhoods and communities be kept within the same district and not be split up, cities should be kept within a district as much as possible, and that whenever possible boundaries between districts should be easily identifiable, like rivers, streets or highways. Districts should also be somewhat “compact” and not stretched out to include particular areas. In no case should districts be drawn with consideration of benefits or harm to one or more political parties.
The first round of public input meetings on how the new district maps should be drawn are scheduled for:
- Thursday, Sept. 2, 6-8 p.m. | Meeting hosted in Spanish with English interpretation. Link to participate via Zoom: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/86508987787 . To join by phone call 1-669-900-6833 and enter meeting ID 86508987787#
- Thursday, Sept. 9, 6-8 p.m. | Link to participate via Zoom: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/82715819678 . To join by phone call 1-669-900-6833 and enter meeting ID 82715819678#
- Saturday, Sept. 11, 10 a.m.-12 p.m. | Link to participate via Zoom: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/85186242569 . To join by phone call 1-669-900-6833 and enter meeting ID 85186242569#
- Monday, Sept. 13, 6 p.m.-8 p.m. | Link to participate via Zoom: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/86008812530. To join by phone call 1-669-900-6833 and enter meeting ID 86008812530#.
Ventura County libraries, Oxnard Libraries and Blanchard Community Library will also accept hard copy written comments regarding redistricting/redrawing of county supervisorial districts as well as make computers available to view the redistricting information.
Written comments regarding redistricting can be submitted through the United State Mail Service to: Redistricting, 800 S. Victoria Ave., Ventura, CA, 93009-1940. Residents can also schedule an in-person appointment by calling 805-654-2998.
Community of Interest
People who live in a particular neighborhood or community with unique interests can ensure their community maintains its representation and is not divided in the redistricting process. The county has a Community of Interest form online. While it asks for a first and last name and email address, none of those are required and the form can be submitted without providing any personal information.
Examples of a Community of Interest impacted by the county redistricting process could be a historic area, an equestrian community, or other cultural area in county unincorporated areas.
The form asks about “common interests” in the community, where it is located, important cross streets and how the community can be impacted by the issues addressed by the supervisors. The form is online at www.ventura.org/redistricting/community-of-interest-online-form/.
For more information on redistricting, visit www.ventura.org/redistricting/.