Rose Institute Fellow Douglas Johnson today joined Common Cause, the League of Women Voters, the Center for Governmental Studies and other redistricting reform organizations on a letter to California’s legislative leaders. The letter discusses the legislative leaders’ upcoming strikes from the redistricting commission applicant pool. Each legislative leader has until November 15th to strike up to two names from each of the Democratic, Republican, and “other” pools of 20 potential commissioners.Â The letter, available here, urges the leaders to ensure their strikes do not impact the remaining pool’s ability to reflect the multi-faceted diversity of the state. The letter also encourages the leaders to carefully consider applicants’ ability to be impartial, as the state will benefit from commissioners who are engaged in their community as long as their previous activities do not improperly bias their decisions in some way.
The legislative leaders, whose role in this process is closely related to the “peremptory strikes” lawyers use during jury selection, play an important role in backing up the State Auditor’s Applicant Review Panel. The leaders’ role is to identify and block any unduly partisan “plants” who may sneak through the Auditor’s selection process. Once the strikes are announced, the State Auditor will then draw the names of the first eight members of the Commission (three Democrats, three Republicans, and two “others”). This must be done by November 20th. Those eight will then have until December 31st to select the remaining six Commissioners (two Democrats, two Republicans, and two “others”).