California redistricting maps approved but Republicans file immediate challenge

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August 16, 2011

California

SACRAMENTO, California: The California Citizens Redistricting Commission approved new Congressional and state legislative redistricting maps yesterday, marking a ceremonial close to the long-awaited new process for drawing new districts.

From the 14-member commission, a minimum of 9 'yes' votes were required, including at least 3 Democrats, 3 Republicans and 3 Independents. The final votes were 13-1 on the Senate and Assembly maps and 12-2 on the Congressional map. Republican Michael Ward voted no to both maps while Jodie Filkins Webber joined Ward in dissenting on the Congressional map.[1]

After the maps were approved, the California Supreme Court issued an order that any lawsuits be submitted electronically to the court in order to expedite the process. Registered voters have until Sept. 29 (45 days) to file a challenge to the new maps. So far no lawsuits have been filed.[2]

Meanwhile, the Republican Party is backing a veto referendum to overturn the Senate map. If a minimum of 504,760 valid petition signatures are verified, a question will appear on the June 2012 ballot as to whether the commission-approved map should be implemented or whether a new map should be drawn by the courts. Petition language is expected to be submitted to the Attorney General of California today. "There isn't any doubt that this commission did not apply consistent standards when drawing its maps -- and the worst of that relates to Senate maps," said California Republican Party Chairman Tom Del Beccaro said.[3]

Charles Munger, Jr., who successfully sponsored Proposition 20 and Proposition 11 in 2008 -- the ballot measures that gave redistricting authority to the California Citizens Redistricting Commission -- said the maps are "infinitely preferable to what the Legislature would have drawn."[4]

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