Marin County is scheduled to produce a redistricting plan by Dec. 15 but will not have access to the necessary data from the U.S. Census for several more months, leaving just a few weeks to finalize the map, so it plans to do what it can in advance.
The Board of Supervisors was expected to kick off the process Tuesday.
New state laws mandate more outreach and public hearings, which are intended to help limit gerrymandering and to improve service to diverse communities.
In response, county officials are updating the way they redistrict, which they last did in 2011, based on the 2010 census. They plan to host four public hearings with multilingual public outreach, including a preview presentation and a website with information about the proceedings.
The county also has spent $28,000 on an online mapping program that will enable residents to draw their own maps, which would be reviewed during public hearings. And officials allocated $100,000 to hire two consulting firms: Nielsen Merksamer for legal and process advice, and National Demographics Corporation for demographic analysis.
County staff members are also meeting with a community-led ad hoc committee to “act as a sounding board” for map plans. Half of the 10-person committee’s members would come from the county’s Election Advisory Committee, while the other half would be community representatives.
“Based on the complexity of this year’s process; the very late receipt of U.S. Census data; and because a more formal commission process would be much lengthier and substantially more expensive to support, we recommend this approach,” reads a letter from the Office of the County Administrator.
Further details on legal and policy criteria, along with in-depth district demographics, may be available as soon as June 15, according to the Office of the County Administrator.