Congressional Redistricting Initiative

The VOTERS FIRST Act for Congress, or the Congressional Redistricting Initiative, will increase the responsibilities assigned to the recently-authorized 14-member redistricting commission that was created by Proposition 11 in 2008, known as the California Citizens Redistricting Commission. This initiative would give the commission the power to re-draw congressional district boundaries in addition to state legislative districts. Therefore, the authority to redraw congressional districts would be taken away from elected representatives. Its ballot title is: “Redistricting of Congressional Districts. Initiative Constitutional Amendment.” The measure qualified for the November ballot on May 5, 2010.

The commission charged with the responsibility is comprised of five Democrats, five Republicans, and four voters registered with neither party. This particular measure would require that any newly-proposed district lines be approved by nine commissioners, including three Democrats, three Republicans, and three from neither party.

Supporters: Charles T. Munger, Jr. who has been active in contributing toward California ballot proposition politics, is behind the filing of this initiative as well as its financial support. Munger also spearheaded Proposition 11 back in 2008. Other supporters include the California Chamber of Commerce, California State Conference of the NAACP, the National Federation of Independent Business/California, and the California Hispanic Chambers of Commerce. Arguments in favor of the measure suggest that if politicians draw districts, they abuse the power and do not represent the interests of California communities. Supporters also argue that the initiative would make redistricting more transparent and accountable if politicians cannot tailor districts to serve their needs.

Detractors: There is a competing initiative, the Financial Accountability in Redistricting Act, that aims to repeal Proposition 11 and the commission’s authority so that redistricting privileges remain with elected representatives. Undoubtedly, supporters of this measure would not want the commission’s power to extend to congressional districts.

You can view the text of the proposed initiative here.

The web site in support of the proposition is available here.

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