SR 344
Background and procedural information
Senate Resolution 344 seeks to amend the Georgia Constitution to create a Citizen’s Redistricting Commission for Congressional and legislative redistricting. The bill is currently in committee.

Under the proposed legislation, are single-member districts a requirement or otherwise implied?
No. Although the bill requires every district to be as close to the same size as possible, it does not require each district to have only one member.

Does the proposed legislation provide for Voting Rights Act compliance (e.g. can the commission use voter history information)?
Yes. The bill specifically requires compliance with the Voting Rights Act, although it does not set standards for the committee to follow in this compliance.   

Under the proposed legislation, how is the commission formed?
The Citizen’s Redistricting Commission is comprised of seven members. To be appointed, a person must have been registered to vote in the past two elections, must not be serving in any elected office, and must agree to not serve in an elected office within two years of service on the commission. The Minority Leader of the Senate, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, the Minority Leader of the House of Representatives, and the Lieutenant Governor each appoint one member. The Lieutenant Governor in Georgia runs independently of the Governor, and therefore is not necessarily the same party as the Governor. The Governor of the state appoints two members, only one of which may be of the same party as the Governor. Once these six members are appointed, they appoint the seventh member. If an agreement cannot be reached as to the seventh member by March 1 of the year following the census, the committee is dissolved and the General Assembly undertakes the redistricting.

Under the proposed legislation, are competitive districts favored?

Under the proposed legislation, can members of the public submit plans?
No. There is no mechanism set up in which the public could submit redistricting plans to the committee. Before the committee may make its plan, however, the bill requires it to hold and publicize at least one public hearing in each congressional district to gain public input.

Does the proposed legislation allow for mid-decade redistricting?
No. The bill provides for the committee to redistrict once per decade, in the year after the census.

*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 had the right idea about redistricting
The Herald News

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

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.

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