Douglas M. Johnson on Voters First

From Fred Ortega’s article in the Pasadena Star News:

But Common Cause’s approach may have a better chance at becoming law than past proposals, said Douglas Johnson of the Rose Institute for State and Local Government at Claremont-McKenna College.

“This is a complicated issue, so when the powers that be throw in millions of dollars at stopping (redistricting reform), there is a lot that can be used to confuse the voters,” said Johnson. “The approach of Voters First is to basically remove the opposition by leaving Congress out and only reforming Assembly, Senate (and Board of Equalization) districts.”

By leaving the congressional districts out of the process, Common Cause is hoping to keep the state’s congressional delegation – and its formidable campaign warchests – out of the fight, Johnson said.

“The other thing is that the Assembly and Senate is on record at least in the last three years as supporting redistricting reform,” added Johnson, referring to both the Lowenthal bills and similarly failed measures on the Assembly side. “And opponents have always cast (redistricting) as a Republican power play, so the more bi-partisan, grassroots support you can show, the harder it is for that propaganda to stick.

“It is hard to cast Chris Holden as an advocate for the Republican Party,” Johnson added.

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