Oregon Redistricting Watch
Background and procedural information
House Joint Resolution 39 was introduced on 3/10/05 by Debi Farr, a Democrat from Eugene. A public hearing and work session were held, and, after being amended, the bill was adopted by a vote of 34-21 and sent to the senate, where it failed.


Under the proposed legislation, are single-member districts a requirement or otherwise implied?

Yes. There are nesting provisions in the proposed legislation that strongly imply single-member districts, and would make it difficult to draw multi-member districts. However, there appear to be no other constitutional or statutory bars to multi-member districts.


Does the proposed legislation provide for Voting Rights Act compliance (e.g. can the commission use voter history information)?

Yes. While there is no specific mention of the Voting Rights Act, there is no prohibition on the demographic information the commission is allowed to use in drawing legislative districts.


Under the proposed legislation, how is the commission formed?

The Supreme Court is charged with creating a pool of retired state and federal judges. The Supreme Court randomly appoints four members, and the four appointed members then elect the 5th member. No more than 2 members can be from the same political party.


Under the proposed legislation, are competitive districts favored?

Neutral.*


Under the proposed legislation, can members of the public submit plans?

Yes. The commission must hold at least three public hearings throughout Oregon, at which the commission can receive and consider proposed redistricting plans and other public comment.


Does the proposed legislation allow for mid-decade redistricting?

No. The apportionment of legislative seats is only authorized in a year ending in 1.

*Note: A proposal may be neutral on whether or not to favor competitive districts for a number of reasons, including that such a requirement may be thought to conflict with other criteria, potentially create other legal issues, or is assumed to flow from the new process itself -- or it might merely not be a priority for the legislative sponsors. FairVote believes that some form of proportional voting is needed to ensure maximum competitiveness for each seat and to ensure meaningful choices for all voters.
 
November 19th 2005
Redistricting reform: How best to tackle ultra-safe districts
Sacramento Bee

FairVote's Rob Richie argues in commentary running in several newspapers that redistricting reformers must challenge winner-take-all elections.

November 16th 2005
In Canada, regular folks are put to work on reforms
San Jose Mercury News

Steven Hill prescribes a citizens assembly as a solution for achieving consensus on redistricting reform in California.

November 15th 2005
Citizens Must Drive Electoral Reform
Roll Call

Heather Gerken of Harvard Law suggests a citizens assembly as one means to achieve redistricting reform and buy-in from voters.

November 13th 2005
ARNOLD AGONIZES: How the election changed the governor -- and California
San Francisco Chronicle

Article discussing the recent failure of redistricting reform in California and the potential solution in letting the citizens decide through a Citizens Assembly on Election Reform.

November 13th 2005
Arnold had the right idea about redistricting
The Herald News

The Herald News cites Fairvote with commentary about the dangers of Gerrmandering and redistricting obstacles.

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