Application and Selection Process for the Citizens Redistricting Commission

The application and selection process for California's first Citizens Redistricting Commission took place between December 15, 2009 and December 15, 2010. Much of that process is archive on the website: http://wedrawthelines.ca.gov/. For answers to general questions about the Commission and the application process please see the FAQ's here. To see who was eligible to serve on the Commission read here.

Bureau of State Audits
The California State Auditor and her office, the Bureau of State Audits (BSA), were responsible for the Commission selection process. The BSA divided the application and selection process into six phases, as described below.

Applicant Review Panel
In November 2009, the State Auditor had selected by random draw three auditors, from her staff at the BSA, who became the Applicant Review Panel (ARP). Between February 25, 2010 and September 23, 2010 the ARP held public and webcast meetings for all deliberations. To view all Applicant Review Panel meetings click here.

Phase I
Individuals could submit initial applications online between December 15, 2009 and February 16, 2010. The purpose of this application was to collect contact and demographic information, and to establish basic eligibility for being a commissioner. Basic eligibility included have a certain voting and voter registration record and not having any of a specific set of conflicts of interest. If the eligibility questions were answered appropriately, the individual became 'tentatively eligible'; 'tentatively' because the BSA would later do checks to confirm the information reported in the application. 24,915 individuals were deemed tentatively eligible

Phase II
Between February 17, 2010 and April 19, 2010, tentatively eligibly applicants could submit a supplemental application and letters of recommendation. The supplemental application contained four to six essays as well as education history, employment history, political contributions, and a list of family members and their possible conflicts of interest. 4547 individuals submitted the complete supplemental application including 3 letters of recommendation. Between April 19, 2010 and July 19, 2010, the three Applicant Review Panel (ARP) members individually reviewed those 4547 applications, and then in public meetings reduced that pool to 120 applicants. Those 120 were invited for an interview by the ARP, and that concluded Phase II.

Phase III
Commissioner applicant interviews took place between August 6 and September 10, 2010, and were streamed live on the web. The interview schedule can be found here, and the interviews are archived here. Five applicants invited for an interview withdrew from the pool before completing their interviews, leaving a total of 115 applicants who were interviewed. At the last ARP meeting on September 22 and 23, 2010, the pool was reduced to 60 applicants, 20 Democrats, 20 Republicans, and 20 affiliated with neither the Democratic or Republican Party.

Phase IV
On September 29, 2010 the list of 60 names was submitted to Legislative leadership (the leaders of the two major parties in each chamber) through a letter to the Secretary of the Senate and one to the Chief Clerk of the Assembly. The four Legislative leaders are the President Pro Tempore of the Senate, the Minority Floor Leader of the Senate, the Speaker of the Assembly, and the Minority Floor Leader of the Assembly. The Legislature (through its four leaders) had until November 15, 2010 to strike up to 24 names and return the list of remaining applicants to the State Auditor and her office, the Bureau of State Audits (BSA). Each of the four leaders could strike up to 2 names from each party affiliation pool, therefore each pool can be reduced from 20 down to 12. On October 20, 2010, the Speaker of the Assembly, John A. Perez, took public testimony on the striking process and both verbal and written testimony were submitted. On November 12 2010, the Legislature returned the names of the remaining 36 applicants after they exercised their strikes. There is no requirement for the leaders to exercise their strikes, but they did take advantage of the full amount of possible strikes.

Phase V
On November 18, 2010 the State Auditor randomly selected 8 names (3 Democrats, 3 Republicans, and 2 applicants from neither of the two biggest parties or 'Other' applicants) from the remaining applicant pool of 36, and those 8 individuals became the first eight commissioners.

Phase VI
These 8 commissioners began their first meeting on November 30, 2010. After two days of training (November 30-December 1) they recessed the meeting until December 10 when they developed a slate of 6 more commissioners (2 Democrats, 2 Republicans, and 2 'Other' applicants). They recessed again until December 15, 2010, at which point they voted to approve the slate, and therefore completed the 14-member Commission. After this date, administrative support of the commissioners, including managing the 'wedrawthelines.ca.gov' website, shifted fully to the California Secretary of State (SOS) Office. Proposition 11 dictates that the SOS 'shall provide support functions to the commission until its staff and office are fully functional.' The Commission began hiring its own staff in January; however the California Secretary of State provided some support at least through February of 2011.

An Early Resignation and the Final Commission
On January 14, 2011 one of the commissioners chosen by random draw, Elaine Kuo, resigned stating that:

  • ‘in light of some unexpected personal issues that have arose in the last few weeks, I cannot guarantee that it would not affect my ability to carry out  my responsibilities to the best  of  my ability in the coming months.  I do not want to compromise the very important job of the Commission by having to resign halfway or three-fourths into the process.  To maintain legitimacy of the Commission, I would rather have someone take my place while the group is still at the organizational and planning stages. ‘
The thirteen remaining commissioners considered the 7 remaining individuals in the Democrats pool, and at a public meeting on January 28, 2011 voted to replace Elaine Kuo with Angelo Ancheta.  Commissioner Ancheta, who was sworn in at the next meeting on February 10, 2011, replaced former Commissioner Kuo demographically as well, as he is also Asian-American from the San Francisco Bay Area. The final Commission is shown in the table below, and the demographics of the Commission can be viewed here.

Registered Democrats
Registered Republicans
Registered Decline-To-State (DTS)

Although two Green Party registrants were in the final 60 (see Phase III), the ‘Decline-to-State’ designation applies to all 4 of the sitting Commissioners in the 'Other Party' category.

Who was in the applicant pool? What information was available about applicants?
The number and statistics on who submitted an initial application and who submitted a supplemental application were posted at wedrawthelines.ca.gov, and were the full applications of all applicants while they remained in the pool. The applications of the fourteen commissioners can be found here on the Commission's new website. While applicants were still in the pool and their applications were posted, the public could submit comments about an applicant and it would be posted on that applicant's page in the applicant database.

Laws and Regulations
Proposition 11, the Voters First Act, was enacted by voters (50.9% Yes; 49.1% No) on November 4, 2008. The Voters First Act made changes to the State Constitution and California's Government Code. You can read the full text of Proposition 11 here, and the regulations for creating the Commission here.  These regulations were adopted on October 19, 2009 and were precleared by the US Department of Justice on December 18, 2009. To read more about the regulatory process please see this page.

In January, the BSA announced a new rule-making process to develop regulations regarding the final phase (Phase VI) of the commission selection process when the first eight randomly-selected commissioners choose the remaining six commissioners. Prior to publishing draft regulations, the BSA solicited public input about conducting this final phase, which was due by February 16, 2009. On April 16, 2010 draft regulations were published and the first public comment period ended with a public hearing on June 1, 2010. On August 9, 2010 revised regulations were issued with a comment period ending on August 24, 2010. The final regulations were adopted in early September and submitted to the US Department of Justice for pre-clearance on September 10, 2010.

Proposition 20: On November 2, 2010 the California electorate enacted Proposition 20 which added drawing congressional district lines to the work of the Citizen's Redistricting Commission, moved the due date for final maps to August 15, 2011(from the current September 15, 2011), and further defined the criteria for drawing maps; in particular the term 'communities of interests' is defined. Proposition 27 which would have abolished the Commission, returned line drawing to the state Legislature, and changed some of the criteria for line drawing, in particular only allowing populations of districts to differ by, at the most, one person, was defeated on November 2, 2010.