Josh Zaharoff of Common Cause, in a round-up of the organization’s actions for election reform throughout the states, sums up their recent actions for redistricting reform in California:
California Common Cause introduces statewide redistricting initiative for 2008 ballot – California Common Cause, AARP, and the Los Angeles Chamber of Commerce introduced the `Voters FIRST Act’ initiative to remove the conflict of interest of having lawmakers draw their own legislative districts. The measure would establish an independent commission made up of five Democrats, five Republicans, and four others who would draw state legislative districts that complied with the Voting Rights Act, had equal populations, and would respect the boundaries of communities, while ignoring political interests. The measure needs one million signatures to qualify for the November 2008 ballot as planned. “We have seen time and again cities and communities carved up as part of incumbents protecting themselves,” said Kathay Feng, CA CC executive director. Lawmakers are typically unwilling to give up their redistricting authority, however, and with the state session winding down, the coalition moved to the initiative process to put the choice directly to California citizens.
Plenty more information at Common Cause – California.Â As our student employee Dan Mitchell ’08 says below, “The Rose Institute Redistricting team has provided valuable research and expert counsel regarding possible language to the various reform bill and initiative authors,” as we usually do when it comes to redistricting proposals.