Every ten years following the U.S. Census, most California local jurisdictions are required to redraw district boundaries to reflect new population counts and ensure compliance with state and federal law. The 2022 redistricting cycle has been uniquely fast-paced and challenging due to new substantive and procedural laws governing the California redistricting process and pandemic-related census delays, which required jurisdictions to redistrict under tight timelines to ensure that the new maps could be implemented for the 2022 elections.
Attorneys at Olson Remcho, including Robin Johansen, Tom Willis and Kristen Rogers, provide practical advice to California public officials and line-drawers about all aspects of the redistricting process, including the hiring of experts and line-drawers, the appropriate use of data, conducting public hearings and fact-gathering, applying redistricting criteria to line-drawing, drafting redistricting plans, working with public officials to pass legislation, and defending the plan in any subsequent challenges.
The firm’s ongoing representation of the Orange County Committee on School District Organization (OCCSDO) is a case in point. In the weeks leading up to the final redistricting deadlines for the June 2022 primary election, OR attorneys successfully defended the OCCSDO against repeated attempts by the Orange County Board of Education and an incumbent Board of Education Trustee to wrest control over the Board of Education’s trustee area boundaries redistricting from the OCCSDO.
In the five weeks the case played out in Orange County Superior Court in January and February 2022, two different judges sided with OR’s clients and denied Temporary Restraining Orders (TROs) sought by the Orange County Board of Education that would have replaced the OCCSDO’s adopted redistricting map with the Board’s own preferred redistricting map. At this time, OCCSO’s redistricting plan remains in place for the June 2022 election.
“A majority of the members of the Orange County Board of Education went to extraordinary lengths to put their own redistricting lines in place despite the County Committee’s clear statutory authority to draw the lines,” according to Johansen. “We are very pleased we were able to defeat their TROs so that the lines drawn by the County Committee would be used for this year’s election instead.”