Historical Districting Background: Establishing the 2023 Voter Divisions

2023 SMWD Director Divisions and District Election Process

After undertaking a public process to evaluate moving from an at-large election process to division-based elections through which SMWD’s five board members are each elected from a single-member division, the Santa Margarita Water District Board of Directors voted on February 17, 2023, to transition the election of the SMWD Board of Directors to division-based elections.

The November 2024 election will be the first election in which the SMWD Board of Directors are elected through division-based elections for divisions 1, 3 and 5.

A by-division method divides a service area into separate divisions and allows the voters in each division to elect a member of the Board of Directors.

Link to 2023 SMWD Board of Directors Adopted Resolution and Division Boundary Map 

Districting Maps

The public map submission period closed on Friday, January 13, 2023. 

Below are the division proposals submitted to the Santa Margarita Water District in its 2023 Districting effort. The files posted include individual proposal packets, additional documentation and aggregated proposal information.

Posted February 10, 2023

Posted January 30, 2023 

Posted January 25, 2023

Public Hearings & Timeline

10/05/2022 5:30 p.m.Board Meeting
  • Districting process kickoff
Agenda Information
11/02/2022 5:30 p.m.Public Hearing #1:
  • Pre-Map
  • Solicit public input
  • Release districting website
Agenda Information
12/07/2022 5:30 p.m.Public Hearing #2:Agenda Information
01/11/2023 5:30 p.m.Public Hearing #3:
  • Pre-Map
  • Solicit public input
Agenda Information
01/13/2023 5:00 p.m.Close of the public submission period for map proposals by the public
02/01/2023 5:30 p.m.Public Hearing #4:Agenda Information
02/17/2023 8:30 a.m.Public Hearing #5:Agenda Information


What is districting?

It is the regular process of determining the lines of voting districts in accordance with population shifts. In California, public agencies and other organizations must divide the lines of their districts according to the results of the Decennial Census, so that each board division is substantially equal in population. This ensures that each elected official represents about the same number of constituents. All division lines must be reviewed to meet strict requirements for population equality and voting rights protections in accordance with the federal Voting Rights Act and the California Elections Code.

What criteria is used to determine division lines?

  1. Federal Laws 
    • Equal Population (based on total population of residents as determined by the most recent Federal Decennial Census)
    • Federal Voting Rights Act
    • No Racial Gerrymandering
  2. California Criteria for Special Districts (to the extent practicable) 
    • Topography (considering mountains, canyons)
    • Geography (Considering infrastructure such as highways, bridges, major arterial roads)
    • Cohesiveness, contiguity, integrity, and compactness of territory (Do not bypass one group of people to get to a more distant group of people)
    • Communities of interests of the division
  3. Other Traditional Redistricting Principles 
    • Minimize voters shifted to different election years
    • Respect voters’ choices / continuity in office
    • Future population growth

What are Communities of Interest?

A community of interest is a “contiguous population that shares common social and economic interests that should be included within a single district for purposes of its effective and fair representation.” They are the overlapping sets of neighborhoods, networks, and groups that share interests, views, cultures, histories, languages, and values and whose boundaries can be identified on a map. The following elements help define communities of interest:

  • shared interests in schools, housing, community safety, transit, health conditions, land use, environmental conditions, and/or other issues;
  • common social and civic networks, including churches, mosques, temples, homeowner associations, and community centers, and shared use of community spaces, like parks and shopping centers;
  • racial and ethnic compositions, cultural identities, and households that predominantly speak a language other than English;
  • similar socio-economic status, including but not limited to income, home-ownership, and education levels;
  • shared political boundary lines from other jurisdictions, such as school districts, community college districts, and water districts

Common acronyms in districting:

  • ACS: American Community Survey
  • CDP: Census Designated Place
  • CVAP: Citizen Voting Age Population
  • CVRA: California Voting Rights Act
  • FAIR MAPS Act: Fair and Inclusive Redistricting for Municipalities and Political Subdivisions (applies to cities and counties)
  • P.L. 94-171: Public Law 94-171
  • ROV: Registrar of Voters
  • SWDB: California Statewide Database
  • BBK: Best Best & Krieger