Orange County supervisors Tuesday narrowed down their choices for new district maps from eight to three.
One map is favored by Republicans, another by Democrats and the third is considered more neutral, some political observers say.
The five supervisorial districts are up to be redrawn based on the census, which is conducted every 10 years.
Nicole Walsh of the County Counsel’s Office told the supervisors all the districts need to have roughly equal population and must be “geographically contiguous.”
“We believe that while all of the proposed maps are likely defensible… maps 2, 4 and 5 are the most defensible overall,” Walsh said.
All the maps the board settled on create a Latino majority district and all contain at least one district with nearly more than 30% Asian residents, or what’s known as an “influence district,” Walsh said.
In three of the proposed maps the Latino community would be divided in a way that could lead to a Voting Rights Act challenge, Walsh said.
“Maps 2 and 5 certainly keep communities of interest together,” Walsh said.
For instance in maps 2 and 5 Little Arabia in Anaheim is kept together, Walsh said.
Map 2 is the one with the highest concentration of Asian voters.
The board has until Dec. 15 to adopt a map or one will be chosen for them, Walsh said.
The supervisors will make what’s known as “technical corrections” to the three remaining maps in terms of the boundaries and those revisions will be posted by Friday.
The board is expected to vote this month on a final map and then approve a new redistricting ordinance for final approval by Dec. 7.
Conservative activists implored the board to adopt Map 2 while more liberal activists pushed for Map 5 at Tuesday’s board meeting.
With Map 2 it could be argued, some political observers say, have four Republican-leaning districts, and Map 5 could have four Democrat-leaning districts. Map 4 has more toss-up opportunities.
Board of Supervisors Chairman Andrew Do said he was mindful of potential complaints about transparency so he pushed for as much dialogue and public information about the mapping process as possible.
“The challenge that I have … is how do we get input from each of us in a way that is organized and timely not only to us, but to the public,” Do said.
The new maps will redraw the districts as of Jan. 1, and three of the seats will be up for election in June. Supervisor Lisa Bartlett is termed out, and Supervisors Doug Chaffee and Katrina Foley are up for re-election.
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