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The 2020 Census counted 62,107 Encinitas residents, with 15,527 residents for each of the city's four districts. Courtesy photo
Demographic scholars are just now arriving at the conclusion that the 2020 census, conducted under the Trump administration, was the least accurate in many decades. Courtesy photo
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Census data shows original Encinitas district map ‘balanced’

ENCINITAS — The latest census data shows the current district map for the city of Encinitas is balanced, meaning no changes would be necessary to be in compliance with state and federal law, but some residents are still anxious to make changes.

The final 2020 U.S. Census data was received after adjustments by the State of California and shows that the current Encinitas district map, adopted in 2017 when the city moved from at-large to district elections, is within the 10% deviation to remain balanced and in compliance with the state’s Fair Maps Act.

The 2020 Census counted 62,107 Encinitas residents, resulting in an ideal district size of 15,527 residents for each of the four voting districts citywide. Specifically, for the individual districts to be balanced, each district should be as close to 15,527 residents as possible.

Three of the four districts are below the ideal by fewer than 500 residents. District 3 is 1,053 residents over the ideal count, creating a total deviation of 9.69% according to National Demographics Corporation, the firm hired by Encinitas to aid in the redistricting.

“We’re at the top end of that range but technically balanced by population,” Shannon Kelly from National Demographics Corporation said.

Being balanced means the current district map does not need to change but the city says it has already seen good engagement in map drawing online.

“While attendance for the in-person workshop was light, there were approximately 26 people, there has been heavy activity online,” said Jace Schwarm, the city’s risk manager. “Currently right now, there may be more, but at the last count we have 39 sample draft maps that are being proposed.”

The city has yet to view those maps during a public hearing, however, and won’t until the next public redistricting hearing on Jan. 19.

Residents who wish to draw maps for potential consideration during that hearing should have them submitted by Jan. 5.

“That doesn’t mean that after that meeting you couldn’t submit more through the process, it’s just for consideration on Jan. 19,” Schwarm said.

District lines for the city are relatively new but residents do appear inclined to make adjustments to the maps. District 3 resident Harriet Selden told the council Wednesday night she hopes to see the community of New Encinitas more evenly and fairly represented in new maps.

“I feel like New Encinitas is underrepresented,” Selden said. “I just think there needs to be a way for more New Encinitas residents in one or two other districts so that we feel as though we are represented more.”

On the other hand, Cardiff resident Julie Thunder was unhappy with how some of the maps submitted online split up her community.

“I think people are just fooling around but I want to make sure and urge you to not consider any of those maps,” Thunder said.

District 3, represented by Councilmember Joy Lyndes, currently encompasses all of Cardiff.

The City of Encinitas is still on track to finalize its district map before the legal deadline of April 17. At least two more public hearings are scheduled in the new year with more hearings possible should they become necessary to make a final decision.

The final deadline for residents to submit maps is in February and information on how to draw and submit district maps can be found on the city’s redistricting webpage.