The California Citizens Redistricting Commission is looking for Californians to break out their red pens.
With the release of drafts of new Congressional and legislative boundary lines, the commission will hold 11 public meetings this month from San Diego to Sacramento. It took the commission 23 meetings over two months to get to this point.
"We are going back into our communities to continue this dialogue with the public," chairman Gino Aguirre said. "There are probably more things we could work on given more time, and we are giving ourselves more time. The purpose of providing these maps (so early) is for that specific purpose."
The commission's next landmark will come July 7, when it releases a second draft that includes the number for each district. The numbering matters particularly for Senate districts, because odds and evens are elected in separate batches every other two years.
The commission is scheduled to hold a third round of eight meetings in mid-July. Those meetings likely will be held in locations that still have significant concerns with the maps, commissioner Stanley Forbes said. The final drafts are expected July 28, with the commission planning to make them official on Aug. 15.
Commissioners all gave a thumbs-up to the work they've done so far.
"Redistricting hasn't happened in a transparent and community-engaging kind of way," Aguirre said, referring to the old process where legislators designed the maps. "We understand that those districts have been drawn for incumbency and partisan gamesmanship."
Forbes said the question they are now asking Californians is "Do these maps reasonably closely represent what you asked us to do?"