California Proposition 11, Creation of the California Citizens Redistricting Commission (2008)

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See also: Redistricting in California
California Proposition 11, also known as the Voters First Act, was on the November 4, 2008 ballot in California as a combined initiated constitutional amendment and state statute, where it was approved.

Proposition 11 authorized the creation of the California Citizens Redistricting Commission.[1]

Proposition 11 changes the process that is undertaken once every ten years of setting (which sometimes means re-drawing) the geographic boundaries of the state's 120 legislative districts and four Board of Equalization districts. Previously, the task of setting these boundaries fell to the California State Legislature itself. Because Proposition 11 passed, that task will instead be given to a new, 14-member commission.[2]

Supporters of the Proposition 11 raised $14 million to promote its passage, versus the $1 million raised by opponents.

Proposition 20, a U.S. Congressional Redistricting Initiative was on the 2010 ballot. Proposition 20, which was approved by 61.3% of voters, adds the task of re-drawing the boundaries of California's U.S. Congressional districts to the California Citizens Redistricting Commission first created by Proposition 11.

Proposition 27, an effort to entirely repeal Proposition 11, was also on the November 2, 2010 ballot. Voters rejected it, with 59.5% of voters saying they wanted to keep Proposition 11 in place.[3]


In January 2012, the California Supreme Court ruled that the State Senate redistricting maps generated by the California Citizens Redistricting Commission pursuant to Proposition 11 must be used throughout the elections of 2012, even if it ultimately turns out that the Referendum Challenging the State Senate Maps qualifies for the ballot--which it did.[4] (Read more below.)

Election results

There were fewer total votes for Prop 11 than for any of the other eleven statewide propositions on California's November 2008 ballot.[5]

California Proposition 11
Approveda Yes 6,095,033 50.9%

Turnout: 79.4% of registered

Results from the California Secretary of State

Constitutional changes

The successful passage of Proposition 11 changed parts of the California Constitution. It:

Text of measure

One-minute explanation of Prop 11


The ballot title was:

Redistricting. Initiative Constitutional Amendment and Statute.


The official summary provided to describe Proposition 11 said:

  • Changes authority for establishing Assembly, Senate, and Board of Equalization district boundaries from elected representatives to 14 member commission.
  • Requires government auditors to select 60 registered voters from applicant pool. Permits legislative leaders to reduce pool, then the auditors pick eight commission members by lottery, and those commissioners pick six additional members for 14 total.
  • Requires commission of five Democrats, five Republicans and four of neither party. Commission shall hire lawyers and consultants as needed.
  • For approval, district boundaries need votes from three Democratic commissioners, three Republican commissioners and three commissioners from neither party.

Fiscal impact

See also: Fiscal impact statement

The fiscal estimate provided by the California Legislative Analyst's Office said:

  • "Potential increase in state redistricting costs once every ten years due to two entities performing redistricting. Any increase in costs probably would not be significant."

Commission membership

In order to serve on the commission envisioned by Proposition 11, commission applicants must:

  • Be registered voters
  • Show consistent voter registration for the previous five years.
  • Have voted in two of the last three general elections.
  • In last 10 years, applicant or close relative cannot have been a federal or state political candidate, lobbyist or donor of $2,000 or more to a candidate.



California Common Cause was a main sponsor of the initiative. Others supporting it included:

  • ACLU - Southern California
  • California Black Chamber of Commerce
  • Central California Hispanic Chamber of Commerce
  • NAACP California State Conference
  • California Police Chiefs Association
  • [1] California Forward

On March 10, 2008, the Pasadena City Council became the first California city to endorse the Voters First Initiative.[8]

See also: Full list of California Proposition 11 supporters.

Arguments in favor

Notable arguments made in favor of Proposition 11 included:

  • Under current law the legislature draws its own districts which results in a 99 percent of incumbents being re-elected.[9]
  • Under the current system, "Not one of the 120 seats changed party hands in the last two elections."[10]
  • The initiative will open up redistricting so that it will no longer be controlled by only the party in power.[11]
  • When state legislators are in charge of drawing district boundaries, as they are currently, there is a conflict of interest such that legislators place their own self-interest ahead of the common good.
  • A citizen's commission created according to Proposition 11 will be able to make independent decisions leading to legislative boundaries based on fairness and the public good and not political aspirations..
  • Passing Proposition 11 will end partisan gridlock.[12],[13],[14]
  • State legislative contests held in districts drawn by a Proposition 11 commission would be more competitive, leading to voters electing more moderate legislators.[15]
  • It will give the power back to the people.
  • Proposition 11 would reform the redistricting process by establishing a commission (as opposed to a legislatively-driven) procedure. This measure could moderately affect government accountability by making the ballot process somewhat more representative.[16]


$16,279,892 was contributed to the campaign in favor of a "yes" vote on Proposition 11.[17]

Donors of $100,000 or more were:

Donor Amount
California Dream Team $3,027,287
Charles Munger $1,250,000
Brian L. Harvey $600,000
Jerrold Perenchio $525,000
New Majority California $377,500
Reed Hastings $353,595
Michael Bloomberg (Mayor of New York City)[18] $250,000
Lester Howard (of Williams-Sonoma) $250,000
California Dental Association $250,000
Rothstein Rosenfeldt Adler $250,000
Margaret Whitman $200,000
Zenith Insurance $200,000
Haim Saban $200,000
California Chamber of Commerce $160,000
Donald G. Fisher $150,000
T. Gary Rogers $150,000
Eli Broad $150,000
Chevron Corp. $150,000
Rick J. Caruso $150,000
Beny Alagem $128,126
Elliott B. Broidy $100,000
California Forward Action Issues Fund $100,000
Robert Day $100,000
Boone Pickens $100,000
William C. Powers $100,000
Charles Schwab $100,000
California Association of Health Underwriters $100,000
Autonation $100,000

The law firm Rothstein Rosenfeldt Adler gave $250,000 to the "Yes on 11" campaign. Rothstein Rosenfeldt Adler was founded by Scott Rothstein. In 2009, Rothstein, who lives in Florida, was accused by federal investigators of "running a massive Ponzi-style fraud in Florida".[19] Rothstein is said to have been selling shares in a business that supposedly provided lump sum payments to recipients of annuities and other long-term payments, but that the deals he was touting didn't exist. Rather, prosecutors say, he was using money from investors to provide payments to other investors, an arrangement known as a "Ponzi Scheme."[20]

In April 2010, Florida bankruptcy attorneys seeking to restore money to Rothstein's many creditors sent a letter to the campaign committee for Proposition 11 asking it to return a $250,000 donation from Rothstein. The campaign committee for Proposition 11 is defunct which makes it unclear how any funds would be returned.[21]



The official committee set up to oppose Proposition 11 was called Citizens for Accountability; No on Proposition 11.[22] Paul Hefner is the spokesman for the "No on 11" effort.[23]

Opponents included:

(For a full list, see List of Proposition 11 opponents).

Arguments against

Arguments made against Proposition 11 included:

  • No accountability to taxpayers. Each commission member is guaranteed $300 a day, plus unlimited expenses in the form of staffing, offices, etc.
  • The commission created under Proposition 11 would allow politicians to hide behind the selected bureaucrats to maintain a hold on redistricting as they wish.
  • The overly complicated process created by Proposition 11 would make it easier to mask hidden agendas of the people behind those on the committee.[24]
  • Proposition 11 offers no assurance of the same representation for communities, such as California's Hispanic community in the redistricting process.[25]
  • The current version of Proposition 11 does not include congressional districts as an earlier draft did, thereby not being complete reform and creating additional detractors to the measure. [26]
  • Even when commissions do create competitive districts, the people who get elected in them do not necessarily behave as political moderates."[27]

Democrat against Democrat

Kathay Feng, the main author of the initiative and director of California Common Cause, said in late June that since the measure qualified for the ballot and the California Democratic Party has announced its opposition, there has been attempt to bring everybody into line and to encourage those in support of the measure to oppose it.[28]


$1,525,816 was contributed to the campaign in favor of a "no" vote on Proposition 11.[29]

Donors of $100,000 or more were:

Donor Amount
AFSCME $400,000
California Democratic Party $396,439
California Correctional Peace Officers Association $250,000
Leadership California $161,911
Strengthening California Through Leadership $100,000

Editorial opinion

2008 propositions
Flag of California.png
February 5
Proposition 91Proposition 92
Proposition 93Proposition 94
Proposition 95Proposition 96
Proposition 97
June 3
Proposition 98Proposition 99
November 4
Proposition 1AProposition 2
Proposition 3Proposition 4
Proposition 5Proposition 6
Proposition 7Proposition 8
Proposition 9Proposition 10
Proposition 11Proposition 12
Local measures

"Yes on 11"

  • The Los Angeles Times [30]
  • San Francisco Chronicle[31]
  • San Jose Mercury
  • Fresno Bee
  • The Torrance Daily Breeze
  • San Diego Union Tribune
  • Pasadena Now
  • LA Daily News
  • North County Times
  • Redding Searchlight[32]
  • Stockton Record
  • San Gabriel Valley Tribune
  • Santa Cruz Sentinel
  • Lompoc Record

"No on 11"


See also Polls, 2008 ballot measures.
Month of Poll Pollster In favor Opposed Undecided
July 2008 Field 42 percent 30 percent 28 percent
August 2008 PPIC 39 percent 36 percent 25 percent
Sept. 2008 PPIC 38 percent 33 percent 29 percent[34]
Oct 12-19, 2008 PPIC 41 percent 34 percent 25 percent[35]
October 18-28 Field 45 percent 30 percent 25 percent[36]
Nov. 1-2 SurveyUSA 39 percent 26 percent 35 percent[37]


See also: List of ballot measure lawsuits in 2012

Vandermost v. Bowen

2012 measure lawsuits
By state
North DakotaOhioOklahoma
OregonRhode Island
By lawsuit type
Ballot text
Campaign contributions
Motivation of sponsors
Petitioner residency
Post-certification removal
Single-subject rule
Signature challenges
Initiative process

In January of 2012, the California Supreme Court declared in the opinion of Vandermost v. Bowen (S198387) that the State Senate redistricting maps generated by the California Citizens Redistricting Commission pursuant to 2008's Proposition 11 must be used throughout the elections of 2012, even if it ultimately turns out that the Referendum Challenging the State Senate Maps qualifies for the ballot--which it did.[4]

  • More information on the ruling can be found here.

Path to the ballot

See also: California signature requirements

As an initiated constitutional amendment, 694,354 signatures were required to qualify Proposition 11 for the ballot.

Kimball Petition Management was paid $2,332,988 from two separate campaign committees to collect signatures to put this measure on the ballot.[38],[39],[40][41]Signatures to qualify the measure for the November 2008 ballot were submitted to election officials on May 6, 2008. On June 17, the California Secretary of State announced that a check of the signatures had established that the measure had qualified for the ballot.[42],[43]

See also: California ballot initiative petition signature costs

External links

Suggest a link

Basic information:



Additional reading:


  1. Rose Report, "Prop 11 Applicant Review Panel Announced"
  2. Los Angeles Times, "Proposition 11 at a glance", October 14, 2008
  3. Desert Dispatch, "State redistricting opponents regroup", January 10, 2010
  4. 4.0 4.1 BizJournals, "Top California court rejects GOP redistricting challenge", January 27, 2012
  5. San Francisco Chronicle, "1 million declined to vote on redistricting", November 11, 2008
  6. Arnold in Remap X, Newsblog, Dec. 3, 2007
  7. Governor to lead effort to pass redistrict measure, San Jose Mercury News, Dec. 4, 2007
  8. Pasadena Now, City Council Endorses Redistricting Reform Initiative, March 11, 2008
  9. Voters First Ballot Language
  10. New York Times, "Plan on California ballot for new districting panel"
  11. Los Angeles Times, opinion column by George Skelton, "Proposition 11 foes waging Orwellian campaign", October 9, 2008
  12. Proposition 11 arguments in the California voter's guide
  13. Field Poll makes case for Prop 11, backers say
  14. Ventura County Star, "Proposition 11: Supporters see redistricting as end to gridlock", October 19, 2008
  15. Sacramento Bee, "Budget signed, Schwarzenegger sets sights on re-districting", September 24, 2008
  16. National Taxpayers Union, "General Election Ballot Guide 2008, The Taxpayer's Perspective"
  17. Follow the Money, Donors to "Yes on Proposition 11"
  18. Mercury News, Mercury News, "Fundraising, alliances on agenda during Schwarzenegger trip", April 16, 2008
  19. Sacramento Bee, "Schwarzenegger got big money from alleged Ponzi schemer", November 17, 2009
  20. Wall Street Journal, "Lawyer Crashes After a Life in the Fast Lane", November 18, 2009
  21. California Watch, "Florida attorneys want $250,000 back from Proposition 11 campaign", May 5, 2010
  22. No on Proposition 11
  23. San Francisco Chronicle Politics Blog, "Democrats Break Ranks on Proposition 11", August 13, 2008
  24. Arguments against Proposition 11 from the "No on 11" website
  25. Los Angeles Times, "Would Proposition 11 hurt minorities?", July 27, 2008
  26. FEC sets fundraising cap on ballot measure, The Sacramento Bee, Dec. 15, 2007
  27. Governor to chair drive to qualify redistricting measure, Fresno Bee, Dec. 3, 2007
  28. Contra Costa Times, Democratic leaders accused of pressuring supporters of redistricting measure, June 21, 2008
  29. Follow the Money, Donors to "No on Proposition 11"
  30. Los Angeles Times, "California needs re-districting reform", September 12, 2008
  31. San Francisco Chronicle, "Why Californians should support Proposition 11", September 12, 2008
  32. Redding Searchlight, "Proposition 11 will deal voters a more fair hand", October 12, 2008
  33. 33.0 33.1 Institute for Governmental Studies, "November 2008 endorsements"
  34. San Francisco Chronicle, "Poll: Same-sex marriage ban not wooing voters", September 25, 2008
  35. PPIC Statewide Survey: Californians and their government, released October 22, 2008
  36. Field Poll for the Sacramento Bee, October 31, 2008
  37. Sacramento Bee's Capitol Alert, "Survey says: New polling on Props. 4, 8, 11 and Obama-McCain", November 3, 2008
  38. Expenditure detail for Voters First
  39. Expenditure detail for the California Dream Team
  40. The governor, the money, and Proposition 11
  41. Rose Report, "Common Cause/League of Women Voters Support Redistricting Reform"
  42. KPBS News, Governor Schwarzenegger Submits Redistricting Initiative, May 7, 2008
  43. Governor to chair drive to qualify redistricting measure, San Diego Union-Tribune, Dec. 3, 2007