Proposition 27: Eliminates Citizens Redistricting Commission

The Question

Should the state Constitution and state laws be amended to eliminate the Citizens Redistricting Commission established by the voters in 2008, return all redistricting to the state Legislature, and change the redistricting criteria?

The Situation

California’s population continues to increase and be very mobile. Accordingly, every ten years, following the Federal census, the districts from which we elect our representatives must be adjusted to make the districts roughly equal in population. This process is known as "redistricting."

In November 2008, voters passed Proposition 11, which created the Citizens Redistricting Commission and transferred to it the responsibility for redistricting for the state Assembly, state Senate and the Board of Equalization (“BOE”). The state Legislature continues to redistrict for the U.S. House of Representatives.

In addition to making districts roughly equal in population, redistricting must apply a number of other criteria, including (to the extent possible):

  • Keeping cities, counties, neighborhoods, and communities of interest whole.
  • Placing two Assembly districts together within one Senate district and placing ten Senate districts together within one BOE district (“nesting”).

Both the Commission and the state Legislature must solicit public comment on the proposed redistricting plans they develop. The redistricting plans may also be subject to voter approval under the state’s referendum process or be challenged before the state Supreme Court.

The Proposal

This proposition would amend the Constitution and state laws to eliminate the Citizens Redistricting Commission, and return the entire redistricting process for all state offices to the state Legislature.

The proposition would amend certain of the criteria for district boundaries. For example, the population of all districts for the same office would have to be almost exactly equal.  This proposition would also delete some of the existing state criteria, such as:

  • Geographical compactness.
  • Nesting districts.
  • Disregarding consideration of political parties, incumbents, or candidates.

Prop 27 would also require the Legislature to hold hearings before and after district boundary maps are created, and to provide the public access to certain data. It would also limit redistricting costs to the lesser of $2.5 million or prior redistricting costs (adjusted for inflation).

Conflicting Propositions:  See also Proposition 20 on this ballot, which would continue the Commission and give it responsibility for Congressional redistricting as well. If both propositions are approved by the voters, the one with fewer votes would be eliminated.

Fiscal Effect

The Legislative Analyst’s Office estimates that this proposition would probably reduce costs by approximately $1 million in the 2011 redistricting process, and several million dollars in future redistricting.

Supporters Say

  • Prop 27 will bring redistricting back to representatives elected by the people and who are accountable to the people.
  • It will save the taxpayers millions of dollars by limiting the costs of redistricting.

Opponents Say

  • Prop 27 is not about saving money or empowering voters. It’s about politicians wanting to keep their power.
  • Prop 27 would gut the significant reform passed by the voters in 2008.

Official Contact Information

Supporters:  Yes on 27 • www.yesprop27.org

 Opponents:  Yes on 20, No on 27–Hold Politicians Accountable www.noprop27.org

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