Santa Barbara County narrows applicant pool for redistricting committee


Nearly 200 Santa Barbara County residents applied to serve on a citizens' commission responsible for drawing the lines that will define the county’s five supervisorial districts for the next 10 years. Only 11 of those applicants will be chosen to serve.

When Santa Barbara County voters approved Measure G in 2018, they enabled the creation of the Citizens’ Independent Redistricting Commission, a group of 11 Santa Barbara County residents who will use data collected during the 2020 U.S. Census to adjust the boundaries of the county’s supervisorial districts. The process is an attempt to create districts that will better represent the county’s current population.

It won’t be an easy job, according to county Communications Manager Gina DePinto. She said the chosen commissioners, who won’t get paid, will be charged with digging through and analyzing in-depth Census data, conducting massive outreach on the issue throughout the county, and eventually developing the new district map.

“There will be a minimum—minimum—of 14 public hearings before there is a final map,” DePinto told New Times.

But before all of that, commissioners have to be chosen. On Sept. 15, the county announced that its Elections Office had narrowed it down to 45 of the most qualified applicants, who are divided into pools based on their districts. At a Board of Supervisors meeting on Oct. 20, the county District Attorney will randomly select an applicant from each district to appoint to the commission. Those five commissioners will then be tasked with interviewing the remaining candidates and filling the rest of the seats.

That process will be carried out through October and November and will include a public hearing, DePinto said. The Citizens’ Independent Redistricting Commission has to be finalized by Dec. 31. ∆

—Kasey Bubnash

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