Redistricting is a once-in-a-decade opportunity to redraw San Francisco’s supervisor districts to create more fair, equitable representation in our local government.
The 2021–2022 redistricting cycle is here — and the League of Women Voters of San Francisco is already working to ensure our city has fair maps for the next decade. Our goals for local redistricting in San Francisco are to:
Save the Date — The next meeting is tentatively scheduled for Monday, October 4. The city will post instructions about how to observe the meeting and share public comments at least 5 days before the meeting.
You, your neighbors, and your community can join us in working toward fair maps.
Redistricting is the process of redrawing political boundaries to determine how communities are represented in government. Districts are redrawn every 10 years at the local, state, and federal levels in order to adjust for population changes revealed by the U.S. Census.
In San Francisco, the 2021–2022 local redistricting process focuses on the Board of Supervisors district map. There are 11 supervisor districts in the city. If you live in San Francisco, you live in a supervisor district — look up your current district.
Redistricting affects political power. In San Francisco, redistricting determines who will appear on your ballot and what parts of the city they will represent. Redistricting can affect your community's ability to elect a supervisor who represents your interests and responds to your needs. By participating in local redistricting, you, your neighbors, and your community can have a voice in San Francisco's democracy.
Redistricting is vulnerable to gerrymandering, which is the manipulation of the redistricting process to draw district maps that don't represent the community. Sometimes gerrymandering is done to give an unfair advantage to one political party, group, candidate, or incumbent. Sometimes gerrymandering is done to reduce the voting power of people based on their race, ethnicity, culture, language, sexual orientation, economic status, interest group, or other factors. Gerrymandering puts political factors ahead of community interests.
A fair map will reflect the diversity of our community. It will be the result of an open, transparent redistricting process with plenty of opportunities for people (like you) to give input. The redistricting process will have a specific timeline, clear steps, and accountability. A fair map will include substantially equal population in districts, geographic continuity, and protection from diluting the voting power of a racial or linguistic minority. A fair map will also preserve what are called communities of interest and will keep recognized neighborhoods intact. Learn more about the League of Women Voters positions on redistricting.
A community of interest is a group of people who live in a compact area and have something in common, who would benefit from being in the same district. They could have shared culture, history, languages, experiences, identity, housing, recreation options, transportation access, environmental concerns, or other bond that brings them together. You and others in your area can define your community of interest in your own way. Relationship with a political party, candidate, or incumbent cannot be considered a community of interest.
There is no definition of community of interest in the San Francisco Charter. The California Constitution defines a community of interest as "a contiguous population which shares common social and economic interests that should be included within a single district for purposes of its effective and fair representation."
A government body called the Redistricting Task Force leads the local redistricting process. The nine members were appointed by July 31, 2021, and the Redistricting Task Force's first meeting is on September 17, 2021.
The release of the 2020 Census data used for local redistricting has been significantly delayed. Rather than wait for the delayed Census data, the Board of Supervisors convened the 2021–2022 Redistricting Task Force before the city Charter requires. LWVSF strongly advocated for this early convening and supported the ordinance convening the Redistricting Task Force.
The Redistricting Task Force must present the new district map to the Board of Supervisors by April 15, 2022, and the new lines will be effective for the November 2022 election. The Board of Supervisors may not change the map. This and more is required by San Francisco Charter Section 13.110(d).
Get more key dates in the San Francisco local redistricting timeline.
The Redistricting Task Force works with government staff and outside consultants to determine how the supervisor district lines should be redrawn so the districts comply with various legal requirements. The Redistricting Task Force may make adjustments to district lines based on community input.
The Redistricting Task Force has nine members — meet the people on the 2021–2022 Redistricting Task Force.
The Elections Commission, the Board of Supervisors, and the Mayor each appointed three members. The ordinance convening the 2021–2022 Redistricting Task Force stated members are to be "broadly representative of the communities of interest, neighborhoods, and diversity in ethnicity, race, age, gender, and sexual orientation of the City and County of San Francisco," though that is not a requirement in the San Francisco Charter.
Public participation in the redistricting process is crucial. You can watch the Redistricting Task Force's public meetings to better understand the effect redistricting has on your community.
During these meetings, you can also give public comment to share your ideas and feedback. You can speak up in support of a more fair, equitable, transparent, and accessible local redistricting process. There will be specific meetings during which you can share the story of your community of interest and draw your community map.
You can also help other people in your community understand what redistricting is and why it matters. Come to a LWVSF event, watch videos of our previous events, volunteer, or email us to discuss having one of our knowledgeable volunteers talk to your community group about redistricting.
Learn what a community of interest is, why it can help you get fair representation in government, and how to define yours during the redistricting process. With speaker Jonathan Mehta Stein, executive director of California Common Cause.
Discover how you and your community can participate in the city's redistricting process. With guests Helen Hutchison, redistricting lead for LWV of California, and Eric McDonnell, chair of the 2011–2012 San Francisco Redistricting Task Force.
The City and County of San Francisco Redistricting Task Force (2020 Census) website provides meeting agendas, archives, and other information.
LWVSF does not necessarily endorse the views expressed in these articles. They are provided for informational purposes only.
There are local, state, and federal rules that govern redistricting in the City and County of San Francisco. California allows some exceptions to its redistricting rules for charter cities such as San Francisco. "Redistricting for Community Empowerment: A Legal How-To Guide" (PDF) by California Common Cause and ACLU is a rich resource on the rules of redistricting. These are some of the specific rules applicable in San Francisco redistricting:
LWV of California provides information on redistricting efforts within the state and resources for local redistricting efforts.
LWV of the U.S. runs a redistricting program focused on creating fair political maps nationwide.