What is Gerrymandering?

Our system of voting is based on maps. For example, districts and counties are ways to form groups of people, so they can elect a person to represent them in local, state and national governments. One of the big pluses is it's efficient.

Gerrymandering is the process of drawing lines on a map to create voting districts. This is inherently neither good or bad. In the purest form, it attempts to protect minority groups within a population who share things like culture, ethnicity or even economics and give them a voice in elected government. This is good.

When it is used for bad, one group tries to gain an unfair advantage over another or attempts to shut out a group from having a say all together. More often than not, Gerrymandering is mostly used for political gain, not fair representation.


You have spoken! Over 16,000 citizens signed a petition to have Redistricting Reform on this year's ballot!

'Drawing a Line' in the Sand

Reason in Government believes biased gerrymandering has to change. Our Redistricting Proposal is on this November's ballot because of you, the 'average' citizens of Santa Barbara County.

Over 16,000 of you signed a petition to have this issue be voted on.

Citizens will lose if both measures are vote down. This means the current system stays, so does the abuse and unfairness.

The Solution: Measure H

measure_h_buttonWhat we propose is the Redistricting Commission be made from citizens who are NOT affiliated with politics or have been in politics. We want citizens who have the whole community at heart to be on the commission.

The advantages of Measure H:

  • Drastically reduce political abuse from incumbents
  • 50% less expensive than Measure G or the current system
  • Ensurse every citizen's vote has equal value

The opposing proposal on the ballot wants to still allow politicians and other political people on the Redistricting Counsel. We believe this is less effective.


The Other Proposal: Measure 'G'

Measure G doesn't completely eliminate politicians from participating in redistricting and it is twice as expensive as Measure H.

It's a good step in the right direction. It limits politicians' influence and opens positions for other citizens to be on the council. The heart of it is well intended and we applaud and support this effort.

Whether you decide to vote for Measure G or H, please support changing the rules on gerrymandering. Doing nothing means the current system stays in place and that is the worst possible outcome as it devalues your vote and robs you of your voice for a single person's political gain.

Eliminating Gerrymandering in Santa Barbara County

"The Problem"

Gerrymandering is the manipulation of electoral districts to favor one political party over another. The word was used for the first time in March 1812 in reaction to a redrawing of Massachusetts state senate election districts under Governor Elbridge Gerry, who redistricted Massachusetts to benefit his Democratic-Republican Party. When mapped, one of the contorted districts in the Boston area was said to resemble the shape of a mythological salamander.

The manipulation of electoral districts by whichever party is in power provides an artificial “bundling of votes,” ensuring incumbents’ re-election and often undermines civil rights.

Reason in Government has recently taken up the non-partisan and progressive cause of eliminating gerrymandering in Santa Barbara County – an issue that has united Californians of all political backgrounds (e.g. Common Cause, ACLU, League of Women Voters, NAACP, Central California Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, California Police Chiefs Association among many) and led to historical political reforms at the State level.

Given the strong tradition of political innovation in Santa Barbara County and the fact that Senate Bill 1108 (2016), which authorized counties to establish binding independent redistricting commissions to eliminate gerrymandering in supervisorial districts, was supported by Senator Hannah Beth Jackson and then-Assemblyman, now 1st District Supervisor Das Williams, we believed our County would embrace the opportunity to serve as a leader in the movement to eliminate gerrymandering at the local government level.

We therefore modeled an initiative on Proposition 11 (2008) and Senate Bill 1108, drawing on the specific and relevant language from each to create a truly independent commission that would serve the interests of all voters across the County.

"The Solution"

Reason in Government has taken action that will ensure the voters have a chance to eliminate Gerrymandering in County elections when they go to the polls in November 2018. See Attachment B.

Initiative Timeline:
Initiative Crafted

Reason in Government crafts our redistricting initiative “Santa Barbara residents for independent redistricting commission.”

Initiative Filed

Reason in Government files the initiative and notice of intent to circulate the petition with the registrar of voters, Santa Barbara county.

Councel Approves

Santa Barbara county counsel approves initiative language.

Notice Published

Reason in Government publishes notice of intention and ballot title and summary in Santa Maria Times.

Petition Filed

Reason in Government files proof of publication and two blank copies of petition with Santa Barbara county elections board.

Petition Circulated

Reason in Government begins circulating the initiative language and petition for county residents’ signatures of support.

Signatures Delivered

Reason in Government delivers 16,448 signatures of support to the registrar of voters, Santa Barbara county.

Signatures Certified

Santa Barbara registrar of voters determines the required number of county resident signatures and awards a certificate of sufficiency, which will be certified at the July 3 board of supervisors meeting.

Initiative Qualified

Reason in Government announces its initiative has qualified for the ballot. Read More »

Das Williams Publishes Rival Draft

In response to our initiative, supervisor Das Williams publishes a rival draft initiative with provisions that still allow for the possibility of gerrymandering.

Comments on Williams Draft Submitted

Reason in Government submits comments on Williams’ draft ordinance. Read More »

Petition Certified

Santa Barbara board of supervisors certifies Reason in Government petition. The board revises the Williams draft language, incorporating several Reason in Government comments, and unanimously endorses the position that supervisorial districts should be drawn by a fair, transparent and independent redistricting commission. 5th district supervisor Lavagnino acknowledges Reason in Government is responsible, regardless of initiatives, for independent redistricting in Santa Barbara county. Read More »

Both Initiatives On Ballot

Both initiatives were put on the ballot and Reason in Government adopted the position that although we prefer ours, we will encourage voters to vote yes on both.