Saturday, November 6, 2010

California Voters Extend Citizens Redistricting Commission

California is notorious for non-competitive electoral districts for the State Assembly, State Senate, and U.S. House of Representatives. Each district is designed to maximize the incumbent's chance of re-election. Almost all districts are currently designed to be either heavily loaded with Democratic Party voters, or with Republican Party voters.

In 2008 California voters passed Proposition 11, which established a Citizens Redistricting Commission to redraw the Assembly and Senate district boundaries after the results of the 2010 census come in. Otherwise the state legislature would have redrawn the districts, thus allowing each elected official to have a say in their own district's boundaries. Both the Democratic Party and Republican Party apparatus opposed Proposition 11, making its passage a landmark along the path of California voters to independence from these two ancient, corrupt, federal parties.

In the November 2, 2010 election two related propositions were on the ballot. Proposition 20, in passing, extended the authority of the Citizen's Redistricting Commission. Proposition 27 would overturn Proposition 11, returning redistricting power to the very legislators whose districts are to be redrawn.

With the votes tallied as of today, the results were:

Yes Votes
No Votes
Proposition 20
Proposition 27

I interpret this as a dramatic victory for democracy. A substantial number of citizens saw the need for a redistricting system that is designed for the good of the citizens, not the good of politicians.

That said, I don't see anything wrong with arguing about some of the particulars of the original Proposition 11. Hopefully, however, the experiment will go well. Then we, those California citizens who can put partisanship aside in favor of the general good, might make some improvements in the system for the round of redisticting that begins in 2020.

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