California Redistricting Initiatives


"Redistricting Initiative Constitutional Amendment and Statute"
November 5, 2008

"Redistricting Initiative Constitutional Amendment and Statute"

  • Changes authority for establishing Assembly, Senate, and Board of Equalization district boundaries from elected representatives to 14 member commission.
  • Requires government auditors to select 60 registered voters from applicant pool. Permits legislative leaders to reduce pool, then the auditors pick eight commission members by lottery, and those commissioners pick six additional members for 14 total.
  • Requires commission of five Democrats, five Republicans and four of neither party. Commission shall hire lawyers and consultants as needed.
  • For approval, district boundaries need votes from three Democratic commissioners, three Republican commissioners and three commissioners from neither party.

Summary of Legislative Analyst's Estimate of Net State and Local Government Fiscal Impact:

  • Potential increase in state redistricting costs once every ten years due to two entities performing redistricting. Any increase in costs probably would not be significant.

Full Initiative Text



"Voters FIRST Act"
October 22, 2007

"Voters First Act"

The People of the State of California hereby make the following findings and declare their purpose in enacting the Act is as follows:

(a) Under current law, California legislators draw their own political districts. Allowing politicians to draw their own districts is a serious conflict of interest that harms voters. That is why 99 percent of incumbent politicians were re-elected in the districts they had drawn for themselves in the recent elections,

(b) Politicians draw districts that serve their interests, not those of our communities. For example, cities such as Long Beach , San Jose and Fresno arc divided into multiple oddly shaped districts to protect incumbent legislators. Voters in many communities have no political voice because they have been split into as many as lour different districts to protect incumbent legislators. We need reform to keep our communities together so everyone has representation.

(c) This reform will make the redistricting process open so it cannot be controlled by the party in power. It will give us an equal number of Democrats and Republicans on the commission, and will ensure full participation of independent voters -whose voices arc completely shut out of the current process, In addition, this reform requires support from Democrats, Republicans, and independents for approval of new redistricting plans.

(d) The independent Citizens Redistricting Commission will draw districts based on strict, non-partisan rules designed to ensure fair representation. The reform takes redistricting out of the partisan battles of the Legislature and guarantees redistricting will be debated in the open with public meetings, and all minutes will be posted publicly on the Internet. Every aspect of this process will be open to scrutiny by the public and the press,

(e) In the current process, politicians are choosing their voters instead of voters having a real choice. This reform will put the voters back in charge.

Full Initiative Text



"Citizens Fair Districts Act"
June 26, 2007

"Citizens Fair Districts Act"

The people of the state of California hereby make the following findings and declare their purpose in enacting the Act is as follows:

(a) Our state arid congressional elected law makers should be responsive to the voters of the State of California .

(b) When the Legislature draws its 'own districts, it draws maps that cut up neighborhoods, communities, cities and counties in order to create safe seats for incumbents or party favorites.

(c) When districts are drawn for politicians instead of voters, politicians can no longer be held accountable by their constituents.

(d) Legislators have publicly acknowledged that it is an inherent conflict of interest for them to draw their own districts. In 2001, incumbent seW-interest and politics resulted in uncompetitive districts drawn behind closed doors and out of the public eye.

(e) Citizens who vote in the State of California , not politicians, are best suited to adopt a fair and nonpartisan redistricting plan.

(f) This Act will end the legislators' conflict of interest, take redistricting away fiom incumbent politicians and make politicians accountable to the voters again.

(g) This Act will end the practice of incumbent protection where incumbent politicians protect their legislative seats by drawing "safe" districts and will foster increased f& competition in primary and general elections.

(h) This Act establishes an independent Citizens Redistricting Commission drawn randomly from the voter rolls of each Assembly District in California and would empower ordinary citizens to ensure fairness in the redistricting process and establish a fair redistricting plan.

(i) This Act requires compliance with the voting Rights Act.

(j) This Act requires that counties, cities and communities of interest should not be split to protect incumbents.

 

Full Initiative Text



"The Empowering Democracy Act"
December 30, 2005

"The Empowering Democracy Act"

The People of the State of California find and declare that:

(a) Our Legislature should be responsive to the demands of the citizens of the State of California, and not to the self-interest of individual legislators or the partisan interests of political parties.

(b) In the past, with legislators drawing their own political districts, self-interest and partisan gerrynlandering have resulted in uncompetitive districts, ideological polarization in our institutions of representative democracy, and a disconnect between the interests of the People of California and their elected representatives.

(c) We believe that the voters of this State, not politicians and bureaucrats, are best suited to adopt a common-sense, fair, non-partisan, and representative redistricting plan. An independent Citizens' Redistricting Con~mission drawn randomly from the voter rolls in this State, without partisan bias or personal conflict of interest, will empower average citizens to ensure fairness in the redistricting process and to restore the accountability of their elected officials.

(d) Counties and cities should not be split for partisan advantage or incumbent protection reasons, but should be kept together to the extent possible. Communities should be respected and not divided; the interests of the people, not politicians, should come first.

(e) We demand that our representative system of government be fair to all, open to public scrutiny, free of conflicts of interest, and dedicated to the principle that government derives its power from the consent of the governed. Therefore, the People of the State of California hereby adopt this "Redistricting Reform: The Empowering Democracy Act."

Full Initiative Text



"Fairness and Integrity in Redistricting Act"
January 26, 2005

"Fairness and Integrity in Redistricing Act (FAIR)"

The People of the State of California find and declare that:

(a) Our Legislature should be responsive to the demands of the voters, but existing law places the power to draw the very districts in which legislators are elected, in the hands of incumbent state legislators, which is a conflict of interest.

(b) Legislators' self-interest in drawing their own members' districts has resulted in partisan gerrymandering, uncompetitive districts, ideological polarization, and a growing division between the interests of the People of California and their elected representatives.

(c) The redistricting plans adopted by the California Legislature in 2001 produced an unprecedented number of uncompetitive districts, serve incumbents and not the People, and are repugnant to the People.

(d) The experience of the 1970's and 1990's demonstrates that impartial special masters, who are retired judges independent of partisan politics and the Legislature, can draw fair districts by virtue of their judicial training and judicial temperament.

(e) We demand that our representative system of government assure that the voters choose their representatives, rather than their representatives choose their voters, that it be open to public scrutiny and free of conflicts of interest, and that the system embody the principle that government derives its power from the consent of the governed. Therefore, the People of the State of California hereby adopt the "Fairness and Integrity in Redistricting Act."

Full Initiative Text



"The California Fair Voting and Equal Representation Act"
January 5, 2005

"The California Fair Voting and Equal Representation Act"

The people of the State of California find and declare:

(a) The federal Voting Rights Act of 1965, as amended, protects the voting rights of all people eligible to vote in the State of California, as guarantee by the Fourteenth and Fifteenth Amendments to the United States Constitution.

(b) The federal Voting Rights Act of 1965, as amended, prohibits any State or local governement from imposing any voting qualification or practice that results in a denial or abridgement of the rights of any citizen to vote on account of race, color or language spoken.

(c) Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act of 1965, as amended, ensure that members of a class of citizens protected by the Act do not have less opportunity than other members of the electorate to participate in the political process and elect representatives of their choice.

(d) The dilution of minority voting strength is contrary to public policy. The right of meaningful political participation of minority citizens is recognized. No vote cast in this State should be worth relatively more or less than another on account of the voter's race, color, ethnicity or language spoken, nor on account of the drawing of district lines.

(e) In order to assure that our representative system of government is open to public scrutiny and free of conflicts of interest, that it fairly reflects the demographic compisition of California's diverse population, and that it embodies the priciple of "one person, one vote," the People of the State of California hereby adopt "The California Fair Voting and Equal Representation Act."

 

Full Initiative Text - Option I

Full Initiative Text - Option II

Full Initiative Text - Option III

Full Initiative Text - Option IV



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