Dude, Where’s My District? Redistricting in California

18 mins read

By Ann G. Daniels and Larry Baskett

Remember the census? We know, the pandemic has lasted a million years, so that seems like another life. You probably filled out the questionnaire and forgot about it, but your answers had real-life consequences. In the words of the California Secretary of State’s “California Redistricting” web page, California uses the census data “to redraw the Congressional, State Senate, State Assembly, and State Board of Equalization districts based on population changes” since the last census ten years ago:

What does redistricting mean to voters? It’s possible that the districts for your Congressional, State Assembly, State Senate, and Board of Equalization will change, which means that your representatives in these elected offices may change after the next general election. More immediately, though, voters will be voting for candidates running for office using the new district boundaries in California’s June 7, 2022, Primary Election.

In other words: everything is the same until the June 2022 election. But in that election, you may be voting in a new Congressional, State Senate or State Assembly district than you’ve voted in before — you may even be voting in a district not represented by the people who currently represent you, and you may end up represented by different people even if the people who currently represent you stay in office. And after the election, you may have two State Senators — or none! 

Sound weird? Sound confusing? It is, a little. But we’ll break it down for you and tell you what you can do to stay – or get – involved.

What you can do – the bottom line:

  1. Find out your new districts and legislators – don’t assume they’re the same as they’ve been! 
    • To find out ALL your new districts – federal and state: 
      • Go to https://www.wedrawthelinesca.org/final_maps and scroll down to the map viewer. In the “Maps” box that’s hovering over the map itself, check these boxes:
        • “Congressional Districts – Final Map 12-20-21”
        • “Senate Districts – Final Map 12-20-21”
        • “Assembly Districts – Final Map 12-20-21”
      • Close the “Maps” box. Enter your home address in the search bar and click on the map near your home. A small pop-up with information on your Senate district will appear, with the district number shown as “SD __” under the black line. Now click the small triangle pointing right in the top blue bar of the popup box and you’ll see your Assembly district information. Click the triangle again to see your congressional district information.
    • Want to find just your U.S. House of Representatives district? Use this LA Times site.
  2. Sign up with Indivisible East Bay to get notified about visits to your Member of Congress and State Senator and Assemblymember 
  3. If you’re going to be in a new district, represented by new legislators, find out about them! Email info@indivisibleeb.org for info or to get involved in our legislative teams
  4. Read on for more information about specific changes that may affect you – and pass this article on to your friends, family and neighbors!

Deep dive:

This is the California Secretary of State’s redistricting page, here’s the Redistricting Commission’s FAQ page, and here’s the website with all the new, final maps

FEDERAL/CONGRESSIONAL DISTRICTS:

IEB house districts 2023

California’s population grew by about 2.4 million people between the 2010 and 2020 censuses. That’s a 6.5% growth rate, which was a slower rate of growth than the rest of the country. Since there are a fixed number of seats in the House of Representatives, what matters is each state’s proportion of the total population, and the 2020 census showed California with a smaller percentage than before – and that’s why, for the first time, California will lose a seat in the House of Representatives. That lost seat belongs to Rep. Lucille Roybal-Allard in the LA Area, but the new redistricting changes every district in the state to some extent. Here’s what the new East Bay districts will look like:

  • CA-8 (Map, p. 9): This “new” district includes parts of the East Bay currently in CA-11, represented by Mark Desaulnier: Kensington, El Cerrito, Richmond, San Pablo, Pittsburg, and Bay Point. Our CA-11 team is made up of activists from these areas, so we’ll be switching over to this district. Progressive Rep. John Garamendi, currently representing CA-3, has announced that he’ll run for this seat. Garamendi has agreed to attend CA-11’s February 16 meeting to listen to our concerns and priorities for West Contra Costa County. 
    • What you can do: If you live in West Contra Costa County, sign up to attend the CA-11 team’s Weds. Feb. 16 meeting with Rep. John Garamendi! Don’t miss this chance to meet directly with the person most likely to be your Member of Congress. RSVP here. Also, join the #moc_team_ca11 channel on IEB Slack to collaborate.
  • CA-10 (Map, p. 11): This district is similar to Mark DeSaulnier’s current district, CA-11 – MINUS those East Bay locations listed above that will be in the new CA-8, and PLUS some parts of the current CA-15 (Eric Swalwell) that are in the East Bay, including Dublin, and some parts of the current CA-9 (Jerry McNerney) that are not in the East Bay. IEB sees no reason why DeSaulnier should not win re-election.
    • What you can do: sign up to work with Team DeSaulnier! Email indivisibleca11@gmail.com and our team leads will be in touch. IEB has had an excellent working relationship with Rep. DeSaulnier and his staff. If you live in East Contra Costa, you will never have a better opportunity to work closely with a terrific Member of Congress on a wide variety of crucial issues. Want to take a lead role? Our current team leads will mentor you. Sign up today, and pass this on to your friends! Also, join the #moc_team_ca11 channel on IEB Slack to collaborate.
  • CA-12 (Map, p. 14): This is more or less the current CA-13, represented by Barbara Lee, stretching from San Leandro in the south to Albany in the north. Lee has not had a serious challenger since no one can remember when.
    • What you can do: Join the #moc_team_ca13 channel on IEB Slack to collaborate.
  • CA-14 (Map, p. 16): This is almost the same as the current CA-15, represented by Eric Swalwell. The major differences are that San Ramon and Dublin are now part of CA-10 – this may be relevant because Swalwell has close ties to Dublin.
    • What you can do: sign up to work with Team DeSaulnier! Email wardkanowsky@gmail.com and our team leads will be in touch. Also, join the #moc_team_ca15 channel on IEB Slack to collaborate.
  • CA-17 (Map, p. 19): This district is mostly South Bay but includes Newark and Fremont. Currently represented by Rep. Ro Khanna (CA-17) – the new and old districts are very similar, although Fremont is cut differently and the new CA-17 includes more of San Jose (CA-19, Zoe Lofgren) than the old district. 
    • What you can do: Let us know if you live here! We can set up a channel on IEB Slack for you and work with you to lobby your Member of Congress. Email info@indivisibleeb.org. And please tell other activists you know about IEB and encourage them to join!

STATE:

Not sure what state districts you’re currently in, and who represents you? Enter your address here to find out.

State Senate

It’s complicated.

The easy part: State senators serve four-year terms. This year, Senators in even-numbered districts are reaching the end of their terms, while those in odd-numbered districts are halfway through theirs. Thus, even-numbered districts under the new maps will elect a new senator this year, while the odd-numbered districts will keep the same senators until the 2024 election. 

However, after the redistricting you may not end up in the same district you were before – and, as the Secretary of State’s redistricting website says, you will vote in the 2022 elections according to the district where you live under the new maps. Here’s what that means:

  • If you live in an even-numbered district according to the new map – no matter what district you have been in up to now – you will vote for a state senator in the upcoming election. 
  • If you lived in an odd-numbered district, and you still live in an odd-numbered district under the new maps, you don’t vote in the upcoming election – you’re represented by your same Senator until 2024, when your Senator’s term is up.
  • BUT! if you were in an odd-numbered district before the redistricting, and the redistricting put you in an even-numbered district, or vice versa, it just plain gets weird:
    • If you were in an odd-numbered district but the redistricting put you in an even-numbered district, you voted for a State Senator in 2020 AND you’ll vote again in 2022. You’re known as an “accelerated voter” – and after the 2022 election you will technically be represented by two state senators. Why? Your odd-numbered district Senator is still in the middle of their term – that’s the person who won the last election in which you could vote, so technically they still represent you. But whoever wins the upcoming election in your new (even-numbered) district, in which you can vote, will also represent you! In 2024, there will be an election in the new odd-numbered district, in which you won’t vote, and this will end the double representation. 
      • What to do: Since you’re a constituent of both state Senators, you can contact both, up until after the 2024 election.
    • If you were in an even-numbered district but the redistricting put you in an odd-numbered district – for example, if you live in Castro Valley – you won’t vote for Senator until 2024. You’re known as a “deferred voter,” and you technically have no Senator for the 2023-2024 legislative session. Why? You aren’t in your old even-numbered district any more, so you can’t vote in the upcoming election there. But your new odd-numbered Senate district doesn’t officially exist until the 2024 election, when the election there will take place!
      • What to do: don’t worry, you will be assigned someone! According to a Senate leadership staffer with whom we corresponded, “[l]ater this year, the Senate Rules Committee will review the new lines, determine which constituents will be without a Senator after the 2022 election, and assign Senators to represent ‘orphaned areas’ until after the 2024 election.”

If you wonder whether our minds have been addled by too much pandemic – no, this is really how it works. As the League of Women Voters says, it’s a “normal consequence of the redistricting process” that “each accelerated area essentially has two Senators representing the area and each deferred area has none. The Senate Committee on Rules will assign a Senator to provide appropriate constituent services to each deferred area.” Normal or not, the same thing happened after district lines were redrawn after the last census – and poor Castro Valley was stuck in the middle then, too.

  • IEB 2022 (even-numbered district) Senate predictions:
    • SD10: IEB predicts candidate Aisha Wahab in the 2022 election
  • 2024 elections (odd-numbered Senate districts):
    • SD5: this district, which has changed more than the other Bay Area Senate districts in the redistricting, does not currently include the East Bay. The new SD5, however, will reach out from Stockton to include Livermore, Pleasanton, and part of Dublin. Since the incumbent, Sen. Eggman, will be termed out, it will be an open seat.
    • SD7: Sen. Skinner will be termed out in 2024, so this seat will be open. But see below re: SD9 for a weird wrinkle
    • SD9: Sen. Glazer, the incumbent, is not termed out. But in yet another wrinkle in the state Senate districts: it looks like SD7 and SD9 are flipped in the new maps, so Glazer might not technically be the incumbent in this district for the 2024 election (Sen. Skinner is termed out, so it doesn’t matter for her).

State Assembly:

This is much simpler than the State Senate! Assemblymembers run for election every two years. As far as we know, all the following incumbents intend to run for re-election, except as noted:

Ann G. Daniels has enjoyed a checkered background: attorney, reproductive rights advocate, web content creator, literacy teacher, craftsperson, perpetual nerd, occasional rabble-rouser.

Larry Baskett is a mechanical engineer who spent a year as a Science and Technology Policy Fellow with the California State Senate.

Amelia Cass contributed to this article.

Maps: Copyright California Secretary of State

“Welcome to California sign at the northwest end of California State Route 266 in Mono County, California” copyright Famartin


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Indivisible East Bay is a chapter of the Indivisible movement. We are a grassroots organization focused on stopping the Trump administration’s policies.

We cover the East Bay Area, spanning California’s 11th, 13th, and 15th congressional districts. In addition to IndivisibleEB, there are a number of other Indivisible groups covering specifics cities, countries, and even neighborhood. Whenever possible, we try to work together in order to build a coalition of like-minded activists resisting the Trump agenda.

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