As COVID-19 Slows Census, Fmr. Gov. Schwarzenegger, Common Cause, League of Women Voters CA Urge Extension of Redistricting Deadlines


Extend redistricting deadlines, amicus brief filed

LOS ANGELES – Redistricting advocates today urged the California Supreme Court to step in to preserve California’s independent redistricting process. The extraordinary pandemic circumstances and delays in the 2020 Census mean that California’s Citizens Redistricting Commission cannot meet its current deadline to adopt new voting maps. California Common Cause, the League of Women Voters of California and former Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger submitted the amicus letter in support of the California Legislature’s petition to the Court to postpone redistricting deadlines.

The Commission is charged with drawing California’s U.S. House of Representatives, state legislative, and Board of Equalization districts using census population data once per decade. The deadline for adoption of the next decennial maps is August 15, 2021. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, however, the Census Bureau’s 2020 operations have been significantly delayed, and the Bureau has asked for a four-month extension of the deadline for delivering population data to the states to July 31, 2021.

Under normal circumstances, the Commission would have four and half months to draw voting maps. The redistricting advocates support extending the redistricting map deadline to December 15, 2021, which would preserve the critical four and a half months for line drawing allowed in the CA Constitution from the census data release.

Statement of Carol Moon Goldberg, President of League of Women Voters of CA
“The League supports the Legislature’s extension request because it is a common sense and nonpartisan response to the delay in gathering and reporting census data caused by COVID-19 public health crisis. The California Citizens Redistricting Commission simply cannot create well-considered, fairly-drawn maps within two weeks of receiving census data. We urge the Court to extend the deadline to ensure that the Commission has the proper time to fulfill its function in the way intended by California voters when the Commission was first created.”

The redistricting advocates are represented pro bono by Keker, Van Nest & Peters LLP.

Statement of Kathay Feng, Director of Redistricting & Representation, Common Cause
“The people of California voted twice to create a new people-centered redistricting process that puts a premium on transparency and public input. CA Common Cause cannot allow the census delays caused by the COVID-19 pandemic to jeopardize our public redistricting process. If the CA Supreme Court does not extend the deadline, redistricting will have to be completed in two weeks - that’s a recipe for disaster.”


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