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Redistricting of Supervisorial Boundaries


What is Redistricting?

Santa Cruz County is required to adjust, or redistrict, supervisorial district boundaries every ten years following the U.S. Census. The new boundaries must be drawn to balance the population while taking into account the guidelines provided in the State Elections Code and the federal Voting Rights Act.

According to the 2010 Census, the total population for Santa Cruz County is 262,382. That is an increase of 6,782 residents over the last 10 years, or a 2.7% increase. This increase, and the distribution of the County’s population, as counted by the Census will require adjustments in the Supervisors’ district boundaries.  The over and under count for each Supervisorial District is summarized in the table below:

District Population Target Census Population Over/Under Population Target
1st 52,476.40 49,049 (3,427.40)
2nd 52,476.40 50,173 (2,303.40)
3rd 52,476.40 54,427 1,950.60
4th 52,476.40 58,954 6,477.60
5th 52,476.40 49,779 (2,697.40)
County Population   262,382  


What are the guidelines for Redistricting?

Redistricting is governed by the California Elections Code and the United States Voting Rights Act. The Board of Supervisors is charged with the legal responsibility for adjusting supervisorial district boundaries every ten years utilizing census data from the federal government “ that the districts shall be as nearly equal in population as may be...” (Elections Code Section 21500).  In addition, districts shall comply with the Voting Rights Act of 1965, Section 1973 of Title 42 of the US Code, as amended.   Staff review of cases and articles on this issue indicates that race is to be given consideration in the redistricting process so as to assure that sufficiently large minority populations in geographically compact areas which have similar communities of interest are kept together without being overly compacted.

The statutes require that in establishing the boundaries of the districts, the Board may give consideration to the factors of (a) topography, (b) geography, (c) cohesiveness, contiguity, integrity, and compactness of territory, and (d) community of interests of the districts (Elections Code Section 21500).

The statutory deadline for adjusting the supervisorial boundaries is the first day of November following the year in which the federal census is taken.  If the Board of Supervisors fails to adjust the boundaries before the November 1st statutory deadline, a supervisorial redistricting commission composed of the district attorney, as chair, the county assessor, and the county elections official shall do so before December 31st.  The Elections Code also prescribes that the Board shall hold at least one public hearing on any proposal to adjust the boundaries of a district, prior to a public hearing at which the Board of Supervisors votes to approve or defeat the proposal (Section 21500.1).

In 2001, the Board of Supervisors also adopted four principals for consideration, in addition to the factors that are specified by the Election Code:

  • To the extent possible, the current district boundaries will be preserved.
  • The public will have all the opportunities provided by law to participate in the redistricting process and provide input to the Board.
  • Communities of interest will be preserved to the extent possible.
  • Each Supervisor will have the opportunity to suggest changes to his or her district’s boundaries to the extent such changes are necessary prior to the public hearings to be held on the redistricting plan.

For more information on Redistricting, and to participate in the process, see the information included in other sections of the County’s Redistricting website.