gmhTODAY Fall 2021 | Page 42

Morgan Hill Moves Forward with Redistricting , Invites Residents to Participate

By Amy Whelan , City of Morgan Hill
Redistricting in 2021-2022 Assembly Bill 849 , passed in 2019 , requires cities and counties
to engage communities in the redistricting process by holding public hearings , workshops , and public outreach , including to non-English-speaking communities . The finalized maps from the process will change how voters elect Council Members for the next ten years .
What ’ s Next for Morgan Hill ? Our primary goal is to draw lines that follow the law , respect
communities of interest , neighborhoods , history , and geographical elements .
One way residents may participate is to assist the City in developing a list of Communities of Interest ( COI ), which helps inform how to redraw district lines . COI examples include groups that share a common social or economic interest , people in a geographically definable area , ethnic or racial minorities , senior citizens , or even groups that share a similar interest , like parents of young children or bicycle enthusiasts .

What is redistricting , and why am I hearing so much about it ? Redistricting is drawing new boundaries that determine which voters are represented by each electoral district .

It is such a hot topic right now because every 10 years - after the federal government publishes updated Census information - political districts at local , state , and national levels are redrawn so that the districts correctly reflect the population as it evolves over time .
And Morgan Hill is no exception . Since the City is a By District election system for four Council seats , the City must redistrict the district boundaries before the next election of Council Members in 2022 . Although the City established the district boundaries in 2017 for the November 2018 election , the boundaries are based on the 2010 federal census , which means the City must now update the boundaries through the redistricting process based on the 2020 federal census data .
What Kinds of Election Systems Are There ?
At-Large election system is where voters of the entire city elect the mayor and / or council members to the city council . Morgan Hill ’ s Mayor is elected through the At-Large election system .
From District election system is where each council member is elected by voters from the entire city , but the city is divided into districts and each council member must reside within a particular district .
By District election system is where a city is divided into districts and one council member is elected by only the registered voters in that particular district .
When census data is finalized , residents can also draw their own maps for consideration by the City Council .
The redistricting process is managed over the course of several months in 2021-2022 :
August – October October
October – January
January – March March
Community engagement and outreach
Public hearing , final census numbers , educating residents on how to draw and submit draft maps , upcoming timeline
Community workshops and meetings , draft map drawing , sharing and defining COIs
Public hearing ; draft maps to City Council ; City Council and Community to provide feedback
Review and refine draft maps
Public hearing to adopt final map
Visit www . morganhill . ca for the latest on redistricting , how the process is moving forward , a schedule of meetings , and what you can do to be heard in the upcoming elections . Photo credit : Susan Brazeton : www . suebrazeltonphotography . com .
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