The inability of California legislators to effectively find finalists for the California Citizens Redistricting Commission has led to fewer Latino applicants being chosen, according to a study released by researchers from USC, the University of Houston, and the University of Minnesota.
The study examined racial and ethnic diversity in the process of choosing commission members. This year, legislators struck seven of the 14 Latino finalists before the random selection of finalists, which was made by the California State Auditor on July 2.
According to the study, 24 of the 60 finalists were eliminated by legislative strikes, and shockingly, almost all of the finalists who were eliminated—by Democrats—were Latinos.
The researchers called out Democratic legislators for their lack of transparency regarding striking finalists, and asked the State of California to consider removing the Legislature’s ability to unfairly strike out certain contestants.
Nonprofit advocacy group Common Cause’s director Kathay Feng spoke out on these findings. “The closed-door striking of finalists… leaves open the question of why so many qualified Latinx applicants were removed from the pool, undermining the voters’ mandate of creating a commission that reflects the state’s racial and ethnic diversity,” said Feng.
According to the United States Census Bureau, 39.4% of Californians are Hispanic or Latino. This huge percentage should be roughly reflected on the Redistricting Commission, so it’s quite strange that Democrats were so quick to strike out so many Latino candidates. The process of striking needs to be more transparent, especially when the numbers just don’t add up and legitimate questions are being left unanswered.