Asian Americans Advancing Justice - LA

Building upon the legacy of the Asian Pacific American Legal Center

Asian Americans And Pacific Islanders Make Up Less Than 5% Of Applicants For California’s New Redistricting Commission

For Immediate Release:

Contact: Eugene Lee, 213-241-0212
January 7, 2010 Deanna Kitamura, 213-241-0232

ASIAN AMERICANS AND PACIFIC ISLANDERS
MAKE UP LESS THAN 5% OF APPLICANTS FOR
CALIFORNIA’S NEW REDISTRICTING COMMISSION

More Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders needed to apply
before February 12, 2010 deadline

Los Angeles – Every ten years, the voting lines in California are redrawn to evenly divide the voting districts based on the latest census data. How the lines are drawn can determine who will run for office and who will win, and whether communities are kept together or split unfairly. In the past, the State
Legislature has drawn the district maps for the State Senate, Assembly, and Board of Equalization. Because of Proposition 11, a 14-person citizens commission will be in charge of redistricting in 2011. The application process for the commission began on December 15, 2009 and will be open until
February 12, 2010.

As of January 6, 2010, only 197 of the 4,895 applicants (4%) are Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI). People of color as a group make up less than 18% of the applicants. AAPIs represent nearly 15% of the state’s total population, and communities of color make up over half of the state’s total population. Unless additional people of color including AAPIs apply, there is significant risk that the commission will not reflect California’s diversity. Up-to-date statistics can be found at https://application.wedrawthelines.ca.gov/statistics.

The commission will hold public hearings throughout California, evaluate relevant materials, and eventually draw the new district maps. The commission may hire staff and consultants in order to support its work.

The maps the commission draws will determine whether AAPI communities are kept together or split by district boundaries. “If more qualified Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders do not apply for the commission, our communities will be underrepresented and our voice in the process diminished,” said Eugene Lee, Voting Rights Project Director at the Asian Pacific American Legal Center. Commissioners will serve until 2020; however, the vast majority of the commission’s work will occur
from January to September 2011 since the district maps must be completed by September 15, 2011.

From January 2011 until the adoption of the maps, the commissioners may spend 10-40 hours a week or more on their responsibilities. The commissioners are paid $300 per day plus expenses when doing commission business.

To apply for the commission, applicants must fill out an online form. The form can be found at www.wedrawthelines.ca.gov and is due by February 12, 2010. The Asian Pacific American Legal Center (APALC) and its partner organizations will conduct application workshops during January and the first part of February to assist individuals with the application. A schedule of the workshops can be found at www.facebook.com/capafr2011.

After the application period is over, the 14 commissioners will be selected in a multi-step process that is supervised by the California State Auditor. A panel of three government auditors will review the applications and select 120 applicants for interviews. The panel will then choose a final list of 60 applicants from which eight commissioners are randomly chosen. These eight commissioners will then pick the remaining six commissioners.

The commission members will be appointed by December 31, 2010. The commission will be made of five registered Democrats, five registered Republicans, and four individuals who are either decline-tostate or registered with a third party.

To serve on the commission, an individual must be a registered voter in California for at least the last five years with the same party (or non-party) affiliation; have voted in at least two of the last three statewide general elections; and have relevant analytical skills, be impartial, and appreciate California’s diversity.

An applicant will be disqualified if, within the past ten years, he/she or a member of his/her immediate family has been in or a candidate for federal or state office; been appointed as a member of a political party central committee; served as a paid congressional, legislative, or Board of Equalization staff; been a registered lobbyist; or contributed $2,000 or more to any congressional, state, or local candidate in a year.

Additionally, individuals who are appointed to the commission face restrictions on future political activities. Until the end of 2020, they may not run for federal, state, county or city office. Until the end of 2015, they may not be appointed to federal, state or local office; serve as paid staff for the state legislature or any individual legislator; or register as a federal, state or local lobbyist within California. For more information about the commission or the workshops, please contact APALC at [email protected] or visit www.facebook.com/capafr2011. Also, the California State Auditor has information translated in Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Spanish, Tagalog and Vietnamese posted on its
website at www.wedrawthelines.ca.gov/toolkit.html.

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Contact: 
Eugene Lee, 213-241-0212
About Advancing Justice - LA: 
Founded in 1983, the Asian Pacific American Legal Center (APALC) is a nonprofit organization dedicated to advocating for civil rights, providing legal services and building coalitions to positively influence and impact Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders, and to create a more equitable and harmonious society. APALC is affiliated with the Asian American Justice Center in Washington, D.C.
Thursday, January 7, 2010
Area of Work: 

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