For the Californians – you have only a day left to apply for the Citizens Redistricting Commission. You don’t remember? We voted on this change to legislation with Prop 11 in the Nov. ’08 elections. Instead of state government deciding on our district lines, it is now in citizen hands.
February 16 is the last day for applications to California’s new Citizens Redistricting Commission–a body that will have sweeping powers over the way state legislative and Board of Equalization district lines are drawn for the next 10 years. In other words, this commission of 14 ordinary Californians–5 Democrats, 5 Republicans, and 4 independents or voters from other parties–will shape California’s political future.
What’s the big deal? Well…here’s what’s at stake. The district lines that are drawn could significantly affect election results for the next 10 years. In the past, states like Texas have redrawn the lines so that a majority of the residents in a single district hail from one party. As a result, in those districts there is no real competition in elections–which ultimately decreases the power of individual voters. [nam]
I’m posting this up at Sepia Mutiny because according to the latest figures a low amount of AAPIs and women have applied and I would like to encourage our Californian readers to apply today. Though the data for South Asian Americans that have applied is not disaggregated, we do know that 4.47% of the applicant pool are Asian American and 31% are women. In comparison to California’s state wide population according to 2000 census, 13% are Asian American and of that, about 10% are South Asian*.This isn’t just about parity of the applicant pool. At Sepia Mutiny, we’ve talked in the past about the power of the voting block and potential power that our community as South Asian Americans can have by voting together. In LA and OC (according to 2006 data), Asian Indian voters are the ones most likely to identify as Democratic (compared to the other Asian American ethnic groups), thus more likely to be looked at as voting bloc.
Spatially, this voting power can be driven in communities where Desis all live in the same community and in the same voting districts. This can be seen in neighborhoods like Artesia, Koreatown, Yuba City, or counties like Madera, Santa Clara and Alameda*. Arguments have been made that electing a South Asian American congress person like California’s Dilip Singh Saund are more likely to happen if the voting districts do not divide ethnic communities (though, I have some skepticism with this school of thought). Though the population numbers are based on the 2000 Census, one can only expect a dramatic increase in the population after the March Census 2010 count. But who’s to say that the people put into the redistricting commission will know or have access to where these communities are? This is where you come in.
If this is something that interests you, apply today. It’s really simple – you just have to be a voting resident of California and not too involved in party politics for the past 10 years. Go to We Draw the Lines and apply before 5pm PST Feb 16th.
- Data in this blog pulled from various reports released by the Asian & Pacific American Legal Center.