What is Redistricting?
Every ten years, the Federal Government conducts a census to determine the number of individuals living in the United States. After the census is completed, the Charter requires the Director of Elections to determine whether the existing supervisorial districts meet the legal requirements established by federal, state and local law. If the existing supervisorial districts no longer comply with these legal requirements, the Charter requires the Board of Supervisors to convene a Redistricting Task Force to redraw the supervisorial district lines. The process of redrawing the supervisorial district lines is known as redistricting.
How Does Redistricting Work?
The Redistricting Task Force consists of nine members. The Mayor, the Board of Supervisors and the Elections Commission each appoint three members. These nine individuals work with City staff and outside consultants to determine how the supervisorial district lines should be redrawn so that the districts comply with the legal requirements established in federal, state and local law. As part of this process, the Redistricting Task Force holds multiple community hearings to receive input from the people of San Francisco. Throughout this process and based on community input, the Redistricting Task Force will make several changes to the existing supervisorial district lines. The Redistricting Task Force must present a final plan outlining the new supervisorial district lines to the Board of Supervisors by April 15, 2012.
What are the legal requirements for supervisorial districts?
The members of the Elections Task Force (Redistricting Task Force) must consider federal, state and local legal requirements when redrawing supervisorial district lines.
San Francisco Charter Sec. 13.110 (d)
- Within 60 days following publication of the decennial federal census in the year 2000 and every decennial federal census after that, the Director of Elections shall report to the Board of Supervisors on whether the existing districts continue to meet the requirements of federal and state law and the criteria for drawing districts lines set in the Charter.
The criteria for drawing districts lines are:
Districts must conform to all legal requirements, including the requirement that they be equal in population. Population variations between districts should be limited to 1 percent from the statistical mean unless additional variations, limited to 5 percent of the statistical mean, are necessary to prevent dividing or diluting the voting power of minorities and/or to keep recognized neighborhoods intact; provided, however, that the redistricting provided for herein shall conform to the rule of one person, one vote, and shall reflect communities of interest within the City and County. Census data, at the census block level, as released by the United States Census Bureau, statistically adjusted by the Bureau to correct the unadjusted census counts for any measured undercount or overcount of any subset of the population according to the bureau's Accuracy and Coverage Evaluation or other sampling method, shall be used in any analysis of population requirements and application of the rule of one person one vote. In the event such adjusted census data, at the census block level, are not released by the Bureau, population data, at the census block level, adjusted by the California Department of Finance for any measured undercount or overcount maybe used.
If it is determined that the districts are in compliance with all legal requirements, including the requirement that they be equal in population, the current districts as drawn will be valid for the next decade. If it is determined that any of the districts are not in compliance, the Board of Supervisors by ordinance shall convene and fund a nine-member elections task force. Three members shall be appointed by the Board of Supervisors, three members shall be appointed by the Mayor, and three members shall be appointed by the Director of Elections unless an Elections Commission is created in which case the appointments designated to the Director of Elections shall be made by the Elections Commission. Task Force shall be appointed by January 8, 2002 and following the publication of each decennial federal census thereafter, shall be appointed within sixty days after issuance of a report by the Director of Elections to the Board of Supervisors that the districts are not in compliance, pursuant to this subsection.
Members of the Task Force previously appointed by the Director of Elections shall serve on the Task Force until the Elections Commission, if established, appoints three members to the Task Force, whereupon the terms of the members appointed by the Director of Elections shall expire.
The Director of Elections shall serve ex officio as a non-voting member. The task force shall be responsible for redrawing the district lines in accordance with the law and the criteria established in this Section, and shall make such adjustments as appropriate based on public input at public hearings.
The Task Force shall complete redrawing district lines before the fifteenth day of April of the year in which the first election using the redrawn lines will be conducted. The Board of Supervisors may not revise the district boundaries established by the Task Force.
If the Task Force determines that the adjusted population data to which this subsection refers are not available a sufficient period of time before the fifteenth day of April in order to use the adjusted population data in redrawing the district lines for the following supervisorial election, and the adjusted population data demonstrate more than a five percent variance from the figures used in redrawing the district lines for the [sic] that supervisorial election, the Task Force shall by the fifteenth day of April immediately preceding the next supervisorial election redraw the district lines for that supervisorial election in accordance with the provisions of this section. The procedures for redrawing supervisorial lines following the publication of every subsequent decennial federal census shall follow the procedures established by this Section.
The City Attorney shall remove the description of district lines found in this subsection from the Charter after the Elections Task Force has completed redrawing the district lines as set forth above. Following each redrawing of the district lines thereafter, the City Attorney shall cause the redrawn district lines to be published in an appendix to this Charter.