The first voter-approved California Citizens Redistricting Commission finished its No. 1 job this morning and adopted new maps for Congress, state Assembly and Senate and the Board of Equalization.
The boundaries will be in effect for the next decade until the 2020 Census triggers a revision.
Passage was never really in question despite grumbling from a few corners. The Several commissioners expressed frustration with some of the maps but conceded that wholesale perfection was unattainable in a state with so many competing interests. (I confess, I couldn’t hear everything that was said. The webstream kept cutting out; perhaps the site was overtaxed.)
The commission’s vote clears the way for possible legal challenges, which would send the maps to the California Supreme Court. Opponents could also mount a signature drive and place the maps on the June 2012 ballot. The U.S. Department of Justice must also determine whether the maps comply with the Voting Rights Act, which prohibits the use of political district lines as a means of diluting the voting clout of minorities.
California Republican Party Chairman Tom Del Becarro, in an opinion piece that ran in the Sacramento Bee on Sunday, spelled out what he views as a possible challenge of the senate maps.
Commissioner Mike Ward, who voted no on the maps this morning, told CalWatchDog.com that he believed the group engaged in partisan gerrymandering and failed to follow federal law. Ward intends to deliver a full statement at noon today at the commission’s scheduled press conference in Sacramento, according to CalWatchDog.com.
Whether or not any of the critics mount a legal or ballot challenge remains an open question. Lawsuits cost a great deal of money and so do signature drives.