California Environmental Voters Raises “Deep Concerns” About Draft Redistricting Maps

Press Release
November 23, 2021

Need for Environmental Issues, Climate, and Conservation to be Centered in Redistricting Process

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

CONTACT: Annette Majerowicz, 847-977-4434, [email protected]

SACRAMENTO, CA – California Environmental Voters Education Fund (EnviroVoters Ed Fund) today responded to draft maps from the California Citizens Redistricting Commission (CCRC). California is currently redrawing the lines of the state’s Congressional, State Senate, State Assembly, and State Board of Equalization seats, which takes place every 10 years.

“This is a once-in-a-decade opportunity for Californians to shape the future of our state,” said Mike Young, Political and Organizing Director, California Environmental Voters Education Fund. “But the draft maps we’ve seen so far from the Commission are deeply concerning. There is much that is missing from these maps, so much so that it seems like key parts of the state have been disregarded or ignored in this process.”

The redistricting process in California is led by a nonpartisan Commission. As the Commission draws the lines, they should work to keep “communities of interest” together, taking into account things such as proximity, ethnicity, and socioeconomic status. Earlier this month, they released draft maps for feedback and input; these maps must be completed and certified by December 27, 2021 and will shape how Californians are represented in government for the next decade.

“To put it plainly, these draft maps are a mess,” said Sam Sukaton, Redistricting Coordinator, California Environmental Voters Education Fund, who presented to the Commission in October. “This should be a call to action to the Commission to fix this situation and to every Californian to get involved in the process while there’s still time.”

Initial Draft Maps Disregard Community Input, Key Communities of Concern

Some of EnviroVoters’ key takeaways from the initial draft maps include the following:

Southern California:

Northern California and the Sierra:

Need for Environment, Climate, and Conservation to be Centered in Redistricting Process

Redistricting is an opportunity for Californians to advocate for their needs, struggles, and values -- and key among these must be environmental issues. When communities are able to define themselves by their environmental concerns such as a nearby river or toxic site, they determine which candidates will successfully win votes in their communities.

EnviroVoters Ed Fund was the first environmental organization in the nation to engage in the redistricting commission process as far back as 2010 and has brought dozens of groups to the table to engage. They are currently partnering with environmental groups, good-government advocates, civil rights groups, and community organizations around the state to highlight how environmental issues are a critical way to define “communities of interest.” Based on this outreach, EnviroVoters is highlighting the need to factor in the environment, climate change, and conservation to this process.

And since redistricting is only done every 10 years, the people who are elected to represent these new districts will determine how we respond to the climate crisis leading up to the 2030 IPCC deadline. Poll after poll demonstrates that Californians want their leaders to prioritize addressing the climate crisis.

“Communities across California are already grappling with a year-round fire season, another drought, and the lack of access to clean drinking water,” continued Mike Young. “And the future is clear: The climate crisis will be the defining issue of the next decade.”

Californians Urged Make Their Voices Heard, Weigh in on Draft Maps While There’s Still Time

In other states, district lines are drawn by the legislature. This process favors whatever party is in power and disregards the needs of local communities. In 2008, California voters supported the creation of a nonpartisan Commission.

The Commission is made up of 14 members, including five Republicans, five Democrats, and four members who are not affiliated with either of these two parties.

Since June of this year, the Commission has been holding hearings and gathering input from the public. Californians who are interested in getting involved in the redistricting process are encouraged to contact EnviroVoters.

California Environmental Voters (formerly the California League of Conservation Voters) believes the climate crisis is here and this moment requires transformative change. California has the policy solutions to stop climate change but lacks the political will to do it at the rate and scale that’s necessary. EnviroVoters exists to build the political power to solve the climate crisis, advance justice, and create a roadmap for global action. We organize voters, elect and train candidates, and hold lawmakers accountable for bold policy change. We won’t stop until we have resilient, healthy, thriving communities, and a democracy and economy that is just and sustainable for all. Join us at www.envirovoters.org and on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram. See more press releases.

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