Redistricting is the regular process of adjusting the lines of voting districts in accordance with population shifts. Every ten years, districts must be redrawn so that each district is substantially equal in population. This process is important in ensuring that each supervisor represents about the same number of constituents. Redistricting is done using U.S. Census data, which is normally released around March 31 but will not be available to the State until August 2021 because of delays. On October 1, California will release the official population data after completing prisoner adjustments.
All district lines must be reviewed to meet strict requirements for population equality and voting rights protections. With the California Voting Rights Act, more than 500 jurisdictions in California must redistrict in 2021-2022.
In Merced County, the Board of Supervisors is responsible for drawing supervisorial districts based on US Census data and input from Merced County residents. Our redistricting process must be completed by the end of 2021.
Redistricting determines which neighborhoods and communities are grouped together into a district for purposes of electing a board member. The Board of Supervisors will seek input in selecting the next district map for our supervisorial districts. You have an opportunity to share with the Board of Supervisors how you think district boundaries should be drawn to best represent your community.
To find out more about how the process works, contact Redistricting@CountyofMerced.com.
- Federal Laws
- Equal Population (based on total population of residents as determined by the most recent Federal decennial Census and adjusted by the State to reassign incarcerated persons to the last known place of residence)
- Federal Voting Rights Act
- No Racial Gerrymandering
- California Criteria for Cities (to the extent practicable and in the following order of priority)
- Geographically contiguous (areas that meet only at the points of adjoining corners are not contiguous. Areas that are separated by water and not connected by a bridge, tunnel, or ferry service are not contiguous.
- Undivided neighborhoods and “communities of interest” (Socio-economic geographic areas that should be kept together for purposes of its effective and fair representation)
- Easily identifiable boundaries
- Compact (Do not bypass one group of people to get to a more distant group of people)
- Prohibited: “Shall not favor or discriminate against a political party.”
- Other Traditional Redistricting Principles
- Minimize voters shifted to different election years
- Respect voters’ choices / continuity in office
- Future population growth
- Preserving the core of existing districts
Merced County will reach out to local media to publicize the redistricting process. Also, we will make a good faith effort to notify community groups of various kinds about the redistricting process. Persons who require accommodation for any audio, visual or other disability or Spanish or Hmong interpretation in order to review redistricting materials or to participate in a public hearing per the American Disabilities Act (ADA), may obtain assistance by requesting such accommodation in writing in advance.
Merced County will notify the public about redistricting hearings, post maps online before adoption, and create a dedicated web page for all relevant information about the redistricting process. Please continue checking this website for more information and resources.
The Board of Supervisors will be holding hearings to receive public input on where district lines should be drawn. Check the Schedule page for the most updated dates but please note the schedule is subject to change.
At the hearings and workshops, we want you to:
- Share your story
- Define your neighborhood or community of interest
- Explain why redistricting is relevant to your community
- Get the tools you need to draw a map of one district or of all 5 districts
- Share your opinions of the draft maps
- Talk to your neighbors and local organizations
Public opportunity to speak will be heard following the reading of the public hearing. In order that interested parties have an opportunity to speak, any person addressing the Board will be limited to a maximum of three (3) minutes.
In Person: Please raise your hand when requested and you will be directed to the podium.
Voicemail: Please call 209-726-2755. All voicemails directed to the public hearing will be accepted up to and during the public hearing. The Board of Supervisors will take a brief pause during the public hearing for persons using voicemails. Voicemails will be limited to three minutes in length and will be played during the meeting, as time allows.
In an effort to assist the Clerk in identifying the public hearing agenda item relating to your public comment please identify the subject matter in your voicemail. If you wish to do so, please identify yourself in your voicemail. Phone numbers will not be made part of the record of the meeting.
Email: Emails directed to the public hearing will be accepted up to and during the public hearing. Emails will not be read during the meeting, but will be delivered to the Board of Supervisors. Please send email public comments to the Clerk of the Board at SpecialMeetingComments@CountyOfMerced.com. These comments will be made part of the record.
In an effort to assist the Clerk in identifying the public hearing agenda item relating to your public comment please indicate in the Subject Line, the subject matter. If you wish to do so, please identify yourself in the email. Email addresses will not be made part of the record of the meeting.
You can also submit public comments, including suggested draft maps, by emailing: Redistricting@CountyofMerced.com.
These are standard categories included in the Census. Not all of the categories are relevant for creating district maps. Acronyms include:
- NH: Non-Hispanic
- VAP: Voting age population
- CVAP: Citizen Voting Age Population
- CVRA: California Voting Rights Act
- NDC: National Demographics Corporation (the firm hired by the County to create the maps)
No, but you can draw boundaries for just the district where you’d like your neighborhood to be or any part of the County. It is helpful if you submit written commentary with your map describing why the particular neighborhood or area should be kept together in a single district.
After you submit your map, the demographic consultants will generate the population and other demographic details for your proposed maps. Once submitted, maps are considered public records. The County will post all legally-compliant submitted maps on the Draft Maps page.
There are a number of online publications and guides to redistricting. You can start with this one from MALDEF and the NAACP, or this (long) one from the Brennan Center, this one from the League of Women Voters, or this FAQ from the California Independent Redistricting Commission.
The current redistricting timeline and adoption of new supervisorial district maps will affect the 2022 Primary Election process for Merced County Supervisorial Candidates.
The original June 7, 2022 Primary Election time frame was as follows:
Petition in Lieu Period: December 16, 2021 – February 9, 2022 (5:00pm)
The Petition in Lieu period is required to begin 28 days after the new County supervisorial district maps are approved. The final map is scheduled to be approved December 7th, 2021. Therefore, the Petition in Lieu period will be pushed into January 2022.
During the Petition in Lieu period, candidates may obtain forms from the Merced County Registrar of Voters and submit petitions containing signatures of registered voters to cover all or any portions of the non-refundable filing fee. Since the time period has been shortened, the number of required signatures will be reduced proportionally.
The new time frame is as follows:
Petition in Lieu Period: January 4, 2022 – February 9, 2022 (5:00pm)