Fresno County residents hoping for more representation as redistricting nears

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- Redistricting happens every 10 years to ensure that each elected official represents an equal amount of people.

"It creates an opportunity to elect supervisors who are more representative, more responsive and should result in policies and funding decisions that will have a positive impact to improve the lives of our residents," says Veva Islas with Cultiva La Salud.

The process of re-drawing of districts uses the latest U.S. Census data and aims to keep communities that share similar values and needs in the same district.

The census also helps allocate funding for roads, schools, and other critical services.

"Fresno County has a lot of disadvantaged communities," says Nathan Magsig. "As I look at the communities of interest, one of my goals is to make sure that whatever the new lines look like, a lot of these disadvantaged communities don't have their voices blunted or muted further."

According to the U.S. Census, Latinos make up the majority of residents in Fresno County.

Cultiva La Salud and the Dolores Huerta Foundation are among groups advocating for diverse representation on the board.

They're also pushing a newly drawn map that protects underrepresented groups from voting discrimination.

"We want to have just policies, just access to all of the resources and services that everyone rightfully deserves," Islas said.

Magsig represents Fresno County's 5th district, covering Clovis and primarily rural and mountain communities.

"I am overpopulated with close to 28,000 residents," he said. "So that, in and of itself, means that I'm going to lose a number of individuals."

The new districts are required to follow the California Fair Maps Act, which includes community input.

But the supervisors push back on accusations that they will draw lines to keep themselves in office.

"I do know that there are interest groups that would like to maybe make shifts in one direction or the other but for me, I can't use politics when I make my decision," he said. "I need to make sure that I follow the law, and use a balanced approach when it comes to re-drawing these new lines."

Residents are invited to provide feedback on submitted maps at a public hearing Thursday night at the Fresno County Health and Wellness Center.

The Board of Supervisors will meet on November 2 to review proposed revisions.

In the end, it's still up to the supervisors to make the final decision.
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