Late Census and Special Districts Re-districting

By Vanessa Gonzales posted 04-05-2021 03:43 PM


census.jpgDue to the COVID-19 Pandemic, the U.S. Census Bureau is delayed in completing its U.S. Constitutional mandate to complete the census on time, resulting in a six month delay of its release to states.

Without this data, state and local electoral divisions cannot be adjusted to reflect the new population changes and to comply with various state and federal voting laws.

While the Legislature was able to avail itself of having state offices, such as the State Assembly, State Senate and Board of Equalization redistricting commission deadlines pushed back by the California State Supreme Court, as of today, local agencies do not have such a remedy.

Some Special District principal acts such as Community Service Districts, Recreation and Parks Districts, and Fire Districts have a November 1, 2021 deadline to have their electoral division boundaries adjusted, if they have electoral divisions. Additionally, there may be other “one-offs” throughout the codes. Given that the U.S. Census Bureau has recently stated that their target date for delivery of tabulated data is September 30, 2021, this leaves mere weeks to conduct a transparent and compliant redistricting process, rather than many months under normal conditions.

The special districts community has dozens of enabling acts and scores of special acts, as well as other code references that may point to their unique deadlines for redistricting. To resolve this, CSDA has been working with the office of Senator Steve Glazer (D – Orinda) and the Senate Committee on Elections and Constitutional Amendments to point all Special Districts to an existing statute used currently by some districts in the Elections Code (EC § 22000) to provide an over-arching solution. This code section allows for lines to be drawn up to 180 days prior to a general election. At the time of this writing, CSDA is working with the author’s office to amend SB 594 (Glazer) to achieve this and is still researching other potential scenarios.

Additionally, those specific district types or “one-offs” will have an opportunity to amend their principal act, special act, or other statutes to conform to this provision to avoid confusion.

If your district or district type has a unique situation, an election in a month other than November (that requires redistricting) or has any other feedback about the proposed changes - please reach out to CSDA Legislative Representative Anthony Tannehill at