(from the Legislative Analyst's Office [LAO] analysis)
This measure amends the California Constitution to change the redistricting
process for the state legislature (both Assembly and Senate), Board of
Equalization (BOE), and California members of the U.S. House of Representatives.
Panel of Retired Judges. This measure requires
that a three-member panel of retired federal and/or state judges ("special
masters") develop redistricting plans. The measure requires that the judges
meet a number of criteria, including that they have never held partisan
political office. (The box on the following page provides more detail
on the selection process for the special masters.)
Requirements of District Boundaries. The measure
adds new requirements regarding the drawing of district boundaries. Among
these requirements are:
- For the legislature and BOE, population differences among districts
cannot exceed one percent.
- Senate districts must be comprised of two adjacent Assembly districts,
and BOE districts must be comprised of ten adjacent Senate districts.
- The plan must minimize the splitting of counties and cities into multiple
In addition, when drawing boundaries, the panel could not consider information
related to political party affiliations and other specified matters, such
as the potential effect on incumbents and political parties.
Schedule. A panel would be required
to develop a redistricting plan for use at the next primary and general
elections following the measure's approval and then following each future
Approval Process. In developing a
plan, the panel would have to hold public hearings and could receive suggested
plans from the public and the legislature. Once the panel unanimously
approves a redistricting plan, the plan would be used for the next primary
and general elections. The Secretary of State would place the plan on
the general election ballot for the voters to consider. If the voters
approve the plan, it would be used until the next redistricting is required.
If the voters reject the plan, another panel would be appointed to prepare
a new plan for the next primary and general elections.
Funding. The measure specifies that
the legislature must make funding available from the legislature's budget
(which is limited under the state Constitution) to support the work of
the panel. This could include employment of legal and other experts in
the field of redistricting and computer technology. Funding for the panel
would be limited to a maximum of one-half of the amount spent by the legislature
on redistricting in 2001 (adjusted for inflation beginning after the 2010
federal census). For the first redistricting plan under the measure (to
be developed for use at the next primary and general elections following
the measure's approval), the funding would be provided from the state
Major Steps to Select Redistricting Panel under Proposition 77
- Judicial Council (an administrative body of the court system) collects list of retired
judges willing to serve on a panel. The judges must not have:
- Held partisan political office.
- Changed their party affiliation since their judicial appointment.
- Received income over the past year from specified political sources.
- Judicial Council randomly selects a pool of 24 judges from the list of volunteers.
The two largest political parties must have equal representation.
- The four legislative leaders (two each from the majority and minority parties)
nominate a total of 12 judges from the pool. The leaders each nominate three
judges with party affiliations different than their own. Each leader is then able to
eliminate one of the nominated judges.
- From the nominated judges remaining on the list, three judges are selected at
random to serve as the panel. Each of the two largest political parties must have at
least one representative.
- The selected judges pledge, in writing, to not run for offices affected by the
districts they draw or accept public jobs (other than judicial or teaching) for the
next five years.
(from the LAO analysis)
Every ten years, the federal census counts the number of people living
in California. The California Constitution requires the legislature after
each such census to adjust the boundaries of the districts used to elect
public officials. This process is called "redistricting" (or sometimes
"reapportionment"). The primary purpose of redistricting is to establish
districts which are "reasonably equal" in population. Redistricting affects
districts for the state legislature, BOE, and the U.S. House of Representatives.
Typically, redistricting plans are included in legislation and become
law after passage of the bill by the legislature and signature by the
Governor. In the past, when the legislature and Governor have been unable
to agree on redistricting plans, the California Supreme Court oversaw
The LWVC position on Redistricting supports a state redistricting process
and standards that promote fair and effective representation in the state
legislature and in the House of Representatives with maximum opportunity
for public scrutiny. The position also supports a bipartisan commission
as the preferred redistricting body.
Signing ballot arguments for
Signing ballot arguments against:
Edward J. "Ted" Costa, CEO
Daniel H. Lowenstein, Former Chair
Fair Political Practices Commission
Arnold Schwarzenegger, Governor
State of California
Judge George H. Zenovich, Associate Judge Retired
5th Circuit Court of Appeal
John A. Arguelles
Former California Supreme Court Justice
Henry L. "Hank" Lacayo, State President
Congress of California Seniors
The rebuttal to the supporters' argument was signed by Daniel H. Lowenstein;
Deborah Burger, President, California Nurses Association; and Henry L.
Other organizations opposing Proposition 77 include the LWVC; Asian Pacific
American Legal Center; California Association of Highway Patrolmen; California
Democratic Party; California Federation of Teachers; California Teachers
Association; Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund; and
Chris Carson, LWVC Government Director, firstname.lastname@example.org
Trudy Schafer, LWVC Program Director/Advocate, 801 12th Street, Suite
220, Sacramento 95814, 916-442-9210, Fax 916-442-7362, email@example.com
Visit the Redistricting page on the LWVC Web site, http://lwvc.org/lwvc/action/redistrict/
Californians for Fair Representation--No on 77, 1127 11th Street, Suite
950, Sacramento 95814, 916-448-7724, www.noonproposition77.com.
- We do need to change the process for drawing legislative and congressional
district lines in California. But Proposition 77 is a flawed proposal;
it is not the way to reform the system.
- Responsibility for redistricting should be vested in a bipartisan
special commission that includes citizens at large, representatives
of public interest groups, and minority group interests. This proposition
establishes a commission of just three retired judges. In the near term,
such a panel almost certainly will not be diverse in background or ethnicity.
- The normal practice is to redistrict only every ten years, after the
federal census. Instead, Proposition 77 would require a mid-term redistricting
immediately following its passage.
- California's population has increased by three million since the
last census in 2000. Drawing new lines with old data--figures that don't
take into account millions of new Californians and where in the state
they live--is not fair.
- The impact would be greatest on rapidly growing regions and communities
like Latinos and Asian Pacific Americans that have grown faster than
the general population.
- The mid-decade redistricting provision would certainly be challenged
in the courts if Proposition 77 passes.
- County elections officials are concerned that a redrawing of the lines
immediately after the November election could not be done properly in
time for the 2006 elections. If the process is rushed through, public
input may be compromised.
- Among the standards on which a redistricting plan is based should
be preservation and protection of "communities of interest" with shared
cultural, demographic or economic interests. Minority communities in
particular could suffer because Proposition 77 does not require that
such factors be considered.
- Proposition 77 requires that the redistricting plan adopted by the
three-judge panel must be placed on the ballot and voted upon by the
people of California. On that same ballot we would elect representatives
from those same new districts! And, if the plan is rejected, the entire
redistricting process would be repeated, including a vote on the new
lines at the next general election.
- This is a cumbersome process that will confuse voters and candidates
and interfere with efficient, effective government.
- The League of Women Voters and other public interest groups have urged
the legislature and Governor to propose a redistricting process that
is real reform. We challenge them to put a proposal before the voters
next year that
- takes the process away from legislators who have a built-in conflict
of interest and gives it to an independent commission that reflects
the interests and diversity of all California
- includes an open, transparent process that encourages public participation
- specifies fair criteria for drawing the lines.
Note: Please adapt this letter to your own community and check your local
paper's word limit for published letters.
This year, the League of Women Voters and other groups urged the legislature
and Governor to enact redistricting reform requiring an independent
commission, an open process and fair standards for drawing district
Californians were rightly outraged at the bipartisan gerrymander in
2001 and want to prevent this from happening again. Unfortunately, Proposition
77 on the November ballot is not real reform. It unwisely entrusts the
task of drawing legislative boundaries for 35 million Californians to
three retired judges. True reform dictates a larger, more diverse panel
that includes ordinary citizens.
Moreover, the Prop. 77 panel would not be required to consider vital
community information in drawing boundaries.
Proposition 77 also requires a harmful mid-decade redrawing of district
lines, based on outdated 2000 census data that ignores at least three
million new Californians. Further, every new plan must be approved by
a vote of the people--even while it is being used in elections. If the
plan is rejected, we will have more plans and more elections. Can the
state afford the costs, in terms of money, time and energy?
Vote NO on Prop.77. California deserves a redistricting process that
counts and respects the interests of all her citizens.
For more information on this proposition, go to Smart