Background and procedural information:  
2007 CA S.C.A. 9, Senate Constitutional Amendment 9, was introduced on 4/16/07 by Republican Senator Roy Ashburn and Democratic Senator Don Perata, co-authored by Republican Assembly Member Bill Maze and amended in Senate 5/14/07.

Under the legislation, are single-member districts a requirement or otherwise implied?
Under the amendment, each member of the Senate, Assembly, Congress, and Board of Equalization is elected from a single-member district.

Does the legislation provide for Voting Rights Act compliance (i.e. can the commission use voter history information)?
The Amendment explicitly provides that district boundary lines will each have equal population with other districts, comply with the 1965 Voting Rights Act, and respect communities of interest to the extent practicable.  The commission may not use party registration and voting history data in the mapping process, and the amendment does not provide an exception to include voting history or party registration to further the goals of the Voting Rights Act.   

Under the legislation, how is the commission formed?
Under the amendment to California’s state constitution, an eleven member independent commission will be formed, with no more than four members from the same political party.  A panel of ten retired superior court judges or Court of Appeals judges will nominate 55 candidates for appointment to the eleven member commission.  The pool of 55 candidates will be representative of California’s racial, ethnic, cultural, geographic and gender diversity, and will consist of 20 nominees from each of the two largest political parties, as well as 15 nominees not registered with either of those two political parties.  The ten panelists will appoint the members of the commission by random selection after each political party has had an opportunity to strike up to four nominees.  

A person is not eligible to serve on the commission if the person or a member of his or her immediate family has been appointed or elected to, or has been a candidate for any other public office; served as an officer of a political party, or as an officer, employee, or paid consultant of a public official’s campaign committee; been a registered lobbyist, or employee of or consultant to a registered lobbyist; or any person who has contributed $10,000 or more to the Governor, a member of the Legislature, or a member of the State Board of Equalization.  

Under the legislation, are competitive districts favored?

Under the legislation, can members of the public submit plans?
Under the Amendment, the commission will establish and implement an open and noticed hearing process to consider public input.  The public hearing process will include (a) public hearings before any redistricting; (b) hearings after each drawing and display of proposed maps; and (c) hearings following the drawing and display of the final redistricting maps.  Also, any affected elector may file a petition for a writ of mandate or writ of prohibition to challenge a final redistricting plan within 45 days after the plan has been certified by the commission.  

Does the legislation allow for mid-decade redistricting?
The amendment does not explicitly allow for mid-decade redistricting.  

*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.


June 18th 2006
Where politicians dare to tread
San Francisco Chronicle

The San Francisco Chronicle editorial board endorses the British Columbia Citizens Assembly approach to electoral reform, specifically noting the potential for proportional representation in California.

March 21st 2006
Real redistricting reform is proportional representation
San Francisco Examiner

Rob Dickinson of Californians for Electoral Reform writes a commentary on how recent proposals to make the redistricting process fairer miss the mark. For real progress in how we elect our representatives, we need to turn to proportional voting.

March 1st 2006
Tanner redistricting bill gains Senate sponsor
The Hill

Senator Tim Johnson introduced a companion bill to Rep. John Tanner's federal redistricting reform legislation. The identical bills, supported by FairVote, would set up state commissions to handle redistricting only once a decade.

December 20th 2005
Overhaul of state electoral system sought

Following on the heels of the defeat of redistricting reform in California, Republican and Democratic legislators plan on introducing legislation to create a citizens assembly for election reform and discuss proportional voting for the state.

December 11th 2005
A Dramatic Idea for Election Reform
New York Times

A Times reader highlights the fundamental weakness of any single-member district-based system: gerrymandering is unavoidable.

[ Previous ] [ Next ]