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Redistricting expansion initiative qualifies

By Lisa Vorderbrueggen
Wednesday, May 5th, 2010 at 5:31 pm in ballot measures, redistricting.

A ballot measure asking voters to expand the state’s new redistricting commission to California’s congressional districts has qualified for the November election.

Voters last year approved the formation of the commission, which will draw the political boundaries of the state legislative and board of equalization district after the U.S. Census releases the 2010 population totals early next year.

In the prior voter-approved measure, proponents left Congress out under threat of massive opposition from House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, among others. Voters First Act for Congress author Charles T. Munger, Jr., a veteran California political activist, hopes voters will close that gap.

The measure could have company.  A contrary initiative is on the streets. Proposed by UCLA law professor and election expert Daniel Lowenstein would dismantle the independent commission and return the responsibility of drawing political boundaries to the Democratic-controlled California Legislature.

Read on for the Secretary of State’s news release.

Secretary of State Debra Bowen Certifies Third Measure for November 2 General Election

SACRAMENTO – Secretary of State Debra Bowen today certified a third measure for the November 2, 2010, General Election ballot.  The initiative would place the redistricting of congressional districts under the authority of the new 14-member state redistricting commission.

The first measure to qualify was placed on the ballot by the legislature with the passage of SBx7 2 (Chapter 3, Statutes of 2009, Seventh Extraordinary Session), related to the state water supply.  The second measure qualified through the initiative process and would legalize, regulate and tax marijuana. The last day to qualify any measure for the November General Election ballot is June 24.

In order to qualify for the ballot, the redistricting initiative needed 694,354 valid petition signatures, which is equal to eight percent of the total votes cast for governor in the November 2006 General Election.  The initiative proponents submitted 1,180,623 signatures in an attempt to qualify the measure, and it qualified through the random sample signature check.

An initiative can qualify via random sampling, without further verification, if the sampling projects a number of valid signatures greater than 110 percent of the required number.  This initiative needed at least 763,790 projected valid signatures to qualify by random sampling, and it exceeded that threshold today.

County elections officials have 30 working days to verify the validity of the signatures filed with their offices using a random sampling method.  In random sampling, the state Elections Code requires county elections officials to verify 500 signatures, or three percent of the number of signatures filed in their county, whichever is greater.  A county elections office receiving fewer than 500 petition signatures must verify all the signatures.

The Attorney General’s official title and summary of the initiative is as follows:

REDISTRICTING OF CONGRESSIONAL DISTRICTS. INITIATIVE CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENT. Removes elected representatives from the process of establishing congressional districts and transfers that authority to the recently-authorized 14-member redistricting commission. Redistricting commission is comprised of five Democrats, five Republicans, and four voters registered with neither party. Requires that any newly-proposed district lines be approved by nine commissioners including three Democrats, three Republicans, and three from neither party. Summary of estimate by Legislative Analyst and Director of Finance of fiscal impact on state and local government: Probably no significant change in state redistricting costs. (09-0027.)

The proponent of this initiative is Charles T. Munger, Jr.  He can be reached at votersfirstactforcongress@gmail.com.  No phone number was provided.

For more information about how an initiative qualifies for the ballot in California, go to www.sos.ca.gov/elections/initiative_guide.htm.

To sign up for regular ballot measure updates via email, RSS feed or Twitter, go to www.sos.ca.gov/multimedia.

To view this and other Secretary of State press releases, go to www.sos.ca.gov/admin/news-releases.htm.

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  • AJ

    Power to the people!

  • Common Tater

    So Dan Lowenstein wants to turn back the clock and return to Gerrymandering as usual.

    It’s not hard to see that the democrat party has no faith in the voting public and will put obstacles in our path every step of the way.

    Are they really that afraid of genuinely competitive elections that are based on ideologies and principles rather than locations? Must be…

  • John W.

    I’m all for the redistricting reform already passed. Ideally, we should do it for Congressional districts too. However, that would disadvantage Dems unless all states, Red and Blue, do likewise.