In accordance with federal, state, and county law, the Commission must draw district lines pursuant to the following criteria, which are listed in order of priority:
- United States Constitution requirements, including reasonably equal population and a prohibition on racial gerrymandering
- Federal Voting Rights Act
- California Voting Rights Act
- Geographical contiguity, meaning all parts of the district are connected by more than just a point
- Geographic integrity of any neighborhood or “community of interest” shall be respected in a manner that minimizes its division
- Geographic integrity of a city or census designated place shall be respected in a manner that minimizes its division
- Easily identifiable boundaries that follow natural or artificial barriers (rivers, highways, rail lines, etc.) and streets
- Geographical compactness, meaning not bypassing one group of people to reach another group of people
- Topography, other aspects of geography not mentioned above, and cohesiveness of territory
In additional to these, the Commission may also consider other traditional redistricting criteria.
The Commission, however, is prohibited from considering the residence of any incumbent or political candidate and districts shall not be drawn for purposes of favoring or discriminating against an incumbents, political candidate, or political party.