Districting: Establishing Voter Districts

The Districting Process

Local governments use data from the U.S. Census Bureau to draw district lines to reflect the changing local population demographics. State law requires cities, counties, and special districts to engage communities in the districting process by holding public hearings and doing public outreach.

The City of Aliso Viejo is transitioning from an at-large election process to district-based elections through which the City’s five council members will each be elected from a single-member district. A by-district method divides an agency into separate districts and allows the voters in each district to elect a member of the City Council. These new district-based elections will take effect for the November 2024 election.

How can I participate?

The City Council will be holding public hearings to receive resident input on where district lines should be drawn. Share your specific thoughts, draw a map, attend an upcoming public hearing to get involved! We want to hear your stories - tell us what your communities of interest are and give your opinions on draft maps in person or via email at districting@avcity.org.

Below you can view a calendar of public hearings at which you can give input about the process or a specific map.

Why is this important?

The City of Aliso Viejo is asking for your help as we undertake the City’s first ever districting process. We want your input in planning, drawing, and dividing our City. With your help, the finalized maps we create will define the City Council boundaries and will impact how you elect your City Council members in the future.

Our primary goal when developing election districts is to draw lines that respect neighborhoods, history, and geographical elements. In order to achieve this goal, we need your input: What do you consider the boundaries of your neighborhood?

Submitting Public Comments

The public is encouraged to submit ideas or comments on the districting process including ideas about communities of interest or proposed district boundaries. This can be done at City Council meetings, public hearings or via email to districting@avcity.org.

The public will have several opportunities and methods to provide input into the districting effort. The public can submit written comments, submit maps for consideration, and is invited to provide oral comments to the City Council at any of the public hearings related to districting. More information regarding the public hearings is provided below under “Public Hearings & Timeline”.

Public Participation Kit

The City of Aliso Viejo is seeking your help in mapping out what a district-based election would look like. The following links detail how to create potential City Council districts. The first link “Districting Instructions” describes the two options you have for submitting a district map. The second link “Idea Form” is for you to submit comments/ideas on district elections along with your contact information. Item 3 is the “Plan Proposal Submission Map” and is for downloading and drawing your map. The “District Plan Proposal Assignment” is an Excel spreadsheet for creating different scenarios for the divisions and should be used in combination with Item 3’s Plan Proposal Submission Map.

In-person mapping assistance is available at the City Clerk’s office at City Hall, 12 Journey, Suite 100, Aliso Viejo, CA 92656 or by calling the City Clerk’s Office at 949-452-2505.

Districting Maps

The public map submission period closed on Thursday, April 20, 2023.

Below are the district proposals submitted to the City of Aliso Viejo in its 2023 districting effort. The files posted include individual proposal packets, additional documentation, and aggregated proposal information.

Posted May 9, 2023

Posted April 26, 2023

Public Comments

Districting Public Comments (PDF)

Public Hearings & Timeline

April 5, 2023 7:00 p.m. (or as soon thereafter as possible)

City Council Meeting/Public Hearing #1

  • Pre-Map
  • Solicit public input
  • Release districting website
  • Present Existing Conditions report and Public Participation Kit
  • Open map submission period

Meeting Documents:

April 19, 2023 7:00 p.m. (or as soon thereafter as possible)

City Council Meeting/Public Hearing #2

  • Pre-Map
  • Solicit public input
Meeting Documents:
April 20, 2023 5:00 p.m.Close of the public submission period for map proposals by the public
May 3, 2023 7:00 p.m. (or as soon thereafter as possible)

City Council Meeting/Public Hearing #3

  • First review of draft maps
  • Possible revision direction by City Council
  • Solicit public input
Meeting Documents:
May 17, 2023 7:00 p.m. (or as soon thereafter as possible)

City Council Meeting/Public Hearing #4

  • Consideration of maps and any revised maps
  • Solicit public input
  • Map selection and first reading of ordinance
Meeting Documents:

June 7, 2023 7:00 p.m.

City Council Meeting

  • Second reading of ordinance


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 council district is substantially equal in population. This ensures that each elected official represents about the same number of constituents. All district 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.

Why is it important?

Districting determines which neighborhoods and communities are grouped together into a district for purposes of electing City Council members. The City Council will seek input in selecting the first district map for electing City Council members. You have an opportunity to share with the City Council how you think district boundaries should be drawn to best represent your community during the public hearings and/or by submitting comments to districting@avcity.org.

What criteria will be used to determine district lines?

1.   Federal Laws

  • Equal Population (based on total population of residents as determined by the most recent Federal decennial Census and adjusted by the State to reassign incarcerated persons to the last known place of residence)
  • Federal Voting Rights Act
  • No Racial Gerrymandering

2.   California Criteria for Cities (to the extent practicable and in the following order of priority)

  • Geographically contiguous (areas that meet only at the points of adjoining corners are not contiguous. Areas that are separated by water and not connected by a bridge, tunnel, or ferry service are not contiguous.
  • Undivided neighborhoods and “communities of interest” (Socio-economic geographic areas that should be kept together for purposes of its effective and fair representation)
  • Easily identifiable boundaries
  • Compact (Do not bypass one group of people to get to a more distant group of people)
  • Prohibited: “Shall not favor or discriminate against a political party.”

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

How will residents be notified about the districting process?

The City Council will notify the public about districting hearings, post maps online before adoption, and maintain this dedicated web page for all relevant information about the districting process.

Public hearing notices will be published in the Orange County Register. We will also make a good faith effort to notify community groups of various kinds and residents about the districting process through our social media channels. Our public hearings will be provided in applicable languages if residents submit a request in advance to the City Clerk’s Office at 949-425-2505.

Common acronyms in districting:

  • ACS: American Community Survey
  • CDP: Census Designated Place
  • CDR: Center for Democracy Research
  • 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

When can I submit my map?

The public map submission period will open at the April 5, 2023 Public Hearing at which the public participation kit and existing conditions report will be presented to the City Council. The map submission period will end at 5:00 p.m. on Thursday, April 20, 2023. The public may submit comments at any time throughout the process during the Public Hearings or to districting@avcity.org

What is the deadline to submit my map?

After the public map submission period is opened at the April 5, 2023 Public Hearing, maps must be received by the City Clerk by 5:00 p.m. on Thursday, April 20, 2023 to be considered by the City Council. 

Do I have to submit a completed map?

To be considered a viable map for adoption by the City Council, map proposals must have five contiguous districts covering the whole City and the percent spread must be under 10%. 

If you want to draw boundaries for only your neighborhood or only a portion of the City, these can also be submitted as public comments during meetings or to districting@avcity.org

Can I submit multiple maps?

Yes, you may submit as many maps as you like – there is no limit. However, we suggest you submit only your top 2-3 preferred maps to assist the City Council in focusing on the map that best represents your community.

What happens to the drafted maps?

Once submitted, maps are considered public records. After you submit your map by the April 20, 2023 deadline, the demographic consultants will generate a standardized demographic profile and map for your proposed district plan. Maps will be available in the Districting Maps section prior to the May 3, 2023 City Council meeting.