An independent commission in California is drawing up California's House of Representative districts. Photo collage by Katie Le.

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California’s redistricting process explained

An independent commission is tasked with redrawing the congressional map in California.
<a href="https://highschool.latimes.com/author/tdsondy/" target="_self">Tyler Sonderholzer</a>

Tyler Sonderholzer

January 29, 2022
 

The current redistricting process is remaking congressional districts’ maps following the 2020 census. Every state will be allotted its own number of districts depending on the state population trends from the census data, meaning some states could gain or lose a district or could maintain their number of districts. Following the 2020 census, California lost a congressional district, moving from 53 to 52 districts. 

Some states have their state legislatures create the new maps while other states, like California, have an independent commission, not affiliated with the state government, that creates them. California’s independent commission is made up of 14 people: five Republicans, five Democrats and four members who have no party affiliation. 

The commission released their first full draft map on Nov. 10 and the commission formally approved the maps on Dec. 27. According to FiveThirtyEight, which has tracked redistricting across the country, the current draft creates 43 seats that lean Democratic, seven seats that lean Republican and two competitive seats. 

Currently, Fountain Valley is in the 48th congressional district represented by Michelle Steel, a Republican, but in the draft map, the city will be moved to the 45th congressional district where Steel will run for reelection in. FiveThirtyEight also reports that the new 45th district will lean Democratic. 

The surrounding cities of Westminster and Garden Grove will join Fountain Valley in the 45th district while Santa Ana will remain in the 46th district, a safe Democratic-leaning district represented by Democrat Lou Correa. Most of Huntington Beach and Costa Mesa will be moved to the 47th district where Katie Porter, a Democrat, will run for her reelection.

Meanwhile, Harley Rouda, a Democrat who lost to Steel in the last election, had expressed interest in also running in the 47th district, which would have kicked off a primary election between Porter, a progressive, and Rouda, a moderate. However, he decided that he will not run.

On Dec. 20, the commission unanimously approved the congressional map which will was certified on Dec. 27 by the California Secretary of State. This process will shape the congressional districts of California for the rest of the decade until the next census, which will kick off another round of the redistricting process.

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