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First LA County Redistricting Commissioners Picked Today

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"I Voted" stickers in preparation for Election Day. (Element5 Digital/Unsplash)
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The first-ever members of the Los Angeles County Citizens Redistricting Commission were selected today. Over the next year, they will draw the voting districts for the five county supervisors -- instead of leaving that to the politicians themselves.

“This is really a historic moment for the county of Los Angeles,” Supervisor Janice Hahn said during the board's meeting today. “I think it’s great that a group of citizens will be tasked with doing this.”

The creation of the commission is mandated by a recent state bill that required the county of L.A. to shift power away from the supervisors. Defenders of the bill pointed to instances of voter disenfranchisement in the board’s history.

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Former county supervisor Gloria Molina was elected after a federal judge intervened in the 1990 redistricting process to help create a district that included a Latino majority -- an attempt to undo the unlawful discrimination that courts found had been practiced by a former board.

“The worst thing that could happen is having elected officials draw their own lines. What they’re going to do is protect their own, they always do,” Molina said.

She expects the newly selected commission to draw more equitable voting districts, without worrying about protecting incumbents.

The first eight commissioners selected today are four registered Democrats, three independent voters and one Republican; the group includes Latino, white, Black and Asian county residents.

Those chosen will have until the end of the year to pick six more commissioners to represent the diversity of Los Angeles County.

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