CA Narrows Pool of Redistricting Commission Applicants

Earlier this week, California’s Applicant Review Panel (ARP) narrowed the number of Citizens Redistricting Commission applicants down to 622. The pool started with 24,932 Californians completing the Stage 1 application. Of those, 4,564 completed the more extensive Stage 2 application. Now the ARP will gradually reduce the number of applicants to 60. Asian-Americans, residents of California’s North Coast region, and Alameda County residents were the most likely to survive the cut down to the remaining 622 applicants.

The remaining applicants are 53 percent Democratic, 29 percent Republican, and 18 percent “Other” (Decline to State and/or registered to other political parties). With the ‘partisan pool’ approach to Commission selection, this partisan breakdown is largely irrelevant, because Democratic applicants are only competing against other Democratic applicants, Republicans are competing against other Republicans, and members of the “Other” pool are competing only against their pool. Each of those three partisan pools will have 20 names approved by ARP for the final selection phase. (The Commission will ultimately consist of 14 members: 5 Democrats, 5 Republicans, and 4 others.)

All that was needed to move from Stage 1 to Stage 2 was the time and interest to complete the application, so the demographics of those two pools were driven only by self-selection. The initial data on who survived the ARP’s cut from Stage 2 to Stage 3 are more interesting, though the ARP made clear that at this stage they only reviewed applications one by one. Once the total number of applicants is down to a more manageable size, the ARP will include in their considerations their mandate to ensure the remaining applicants reflect California’s diversity.

Overall, less than 14 percent of Stage 2 applicants made it to the group of 622. Asian Americans were the most likely ethnic group to make the cut. Fourteen percent of Asian Americans applicants made it, compared to eleven percent of African Americans, eleven percent of the self-labeled “other” ethnicity, and ten percent of Hispanics. Nine percent of non-Hispanic White applicants survived the latest cut, as did only five percent of American Indian and Alaskan Native applicants.

Residents of California’s North Coast region were the most likely to make it into the latest group, with eighteen percent surviving from Stage 2. Eleven percent of Bay Area residents, and ten percent of applicants from the North Central Valley and Southern Coastal regions, made it into the latest group. Only eight percent of Central Coast applicants and only seven percent of applicants from the Inland Empire and Southern Central Valley regions survived. (The regions are as defined by the State Auditor.)

Twenty-five percent of applicants from Del Norte and Mendocino counties made it to the latest group. Twenty percent of Yolo, Suttter, Plumas, and Lake County applicants survived. Among the larger counties, Alameda did the best with sixteen percent of applicants moving on to the next step, followed by San Francisco with twelve percent, Sacramento and Santa Clara with eleven percent, and ten percent from Los Angeles, San Diego, San Mateo, and Contra Costa counties. Sixteen counties have no applicants in the remaining pool.

Reducing the applicant pool from 4,564 to the current 622 was a major task. Many well-qualified applicants did not make the cut. And this is only the first ARP review of applicants. The ARP faces very difficult decisions as it reduces each partisan pool down to 40 applicants for interviews, and when it eventually makes its final reduction down to 20 applicants in each pool. (More details on the selection process are here.)

Everyone who applied should be commended, both for his or her willingness to spend a considerable amount of time completing the application, and for the interest in helping California. That spirit of participation is vital to making this Commission a success.

More details (including demographics within each partisan pool) will be published as the data becomes available.

Special thanks to Rose Institute Research Assistant David Meyer who first identified the trends reported in this post.

6/23/2010: Updated to correct party registration reference. Thanks to commenters Dennis and Vlad for bringing the data questions to our attention.

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