Difference between revisions of "California Proposition 20, Congressional Redistricting (2010)"

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==Constitutional changes==
==Constitutional changes==
Proposition 20 amends three sections of [[Article XXI, California Constitution|Article XXI]] of the [[California Constitution]].   
Proposition 20 amended three sections of [[Article XXI, California Constitution|Article XXI]] of the [[California Constitution]].   
The three sections that it amends are:
The three sections that it amended are:
* [[Article XXI, California Constitution#Section 1|Section 1 of Article XXI]]
* [[Article XXI, California Constitution#Section 1|Section 1 of Article XXI]]

Revision as of 07:44, 12 December 2010

A California Congressional Redistricting Initiative, Proposition 20 was on the November 2, 2010 ballot in California, where it was appproved.[1] The measure was known by its supporters as the VOTERS FIRST Act for Congress.

Proposition 20, the Congressional Redistricting Initiative, will:

  • Add the task of re-drawing congressional district boundaries to the commission created by Proposition 11.
  • Define a "community of interest" as "a contiguous population which shares common social and economic interests that should be included within a single district for purposes of its effective and fair representation. Examples of such shared interests are those common to an urban area, an industrial area, or an agricultural area, and those common to areas in which the people share similar living standards, use the same transportation facilities, have similar work opportunities, or have access to the same media of communication relevant to the election process."

Ballot language was filed by Charles Munger, Jr.. Munger, who was also Proposition 20's largest financial supporter, was a supporter of Proposition 11 in 2008, which created a new way for political districts to be drawn for California's state legislators and its state Board of Equalization.

A competing initiative on the November 2 ballot, Proposition 27, Elimination of the Citizen Redistricting Commission, unsuccessfully sought to repeal Proposition 11.

Proposition 20 and Proposition 27 each included a so-called "poison pill" provision. This meant that if they both received a majority vote, the proposition that received the highest majority vote is the law that would have gone into effect. However, since Proposition 20 did receive an affirmative majority vote, while Proposition 27 did not, the poison pill provisions were moot.

Legislative and congressional redistricting take place in every state in the wake of the 2010 federal census. Ballot questions about redistricting were on the ballot not just in California, but also in Florida (Amendment 5 and Amendment 6) and in Oklahoma (State Question 748).

Election results

See also: 2010 ballot measure election results
Proposition 20 (Congressional Redistricting)
Result Votes Percentage
Approveda Yes 5,743,162 61.3%
No 3,637,062 38.7%
Total votes 0%
Voter turnout  %

These are the final results for this election as per the California Secretary of State's statement of election results.

Ballot language

See also: Ballot titles, summaries and fiscal statements for California's 2010 ballot propositions

Ballot title:

Redistricting of Congressional Districts. Initiative Constitutional Amendment.

Official summary:

Removes elected representatives from the process of establishing congressional districts and transfers that authority to recently-authorized 14-member redistricting commission comprised of Democrats, Republicans, and representatives of neither party.

2010 propositions
Flag of California.png
June 8
Proposition 13
Proposition 14Text
Proposition 15Text
Proposition 16Text
Proposition 17Text
November 2
Proposition 19Text
Proposition 20Text
Proposition 21Text
Proposition 22Text
Proposition 23Text
Proposition 24Text
Proposition 25Text
Proposition 26Text
Proposition 27Text
Local measures

Summary of estimated fiscal impact:

No significant net change in state redistricting costs.[2]

Congressional re-districting

Had this initiative not succeeded, the Governor of California and members of the California State Legislature would have, as previously done, choosen how to draw lines for however many U.S. Congressional districts California is determined to be entitled to after the 2010 census. Estimates are that California will have somewhere between 52 and 54 seats in congress after those census calculations are completed.[3]

From 2000 to 2010, the population in California has undergone a major shift eastward, with people moving to California's inland areas from its coastal enclaves. This means that California's congressional district boundaries will certainly undergo major upheaval after the 2010 census. As one example, the San Francisco Bay Area grew less than 1% since the last redistricting, while the Central Valley area has grown by 21%. Los Angeles County has grown 5%, while San Diego, Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino and Imperial Counties have grown by 17%.[4]

Another notable factor is that California's population hasn't grown, relative to the population of the rest of the United States, and may even have proportionally shrunk. California may even lose one or two seats.[4]

Constitutional changes

Proposition 20 amended three sections of Article XXI of the California Constitution.

The three sections that it amended are:

See Text of the Voters FIRST Act for Congress, Proposition 20 for the complete text of all changes that Proposition 20 made to California's Constitution.

The constitutional changes went into full effect on November 30, 2010.


"Yes on 20" website logo


Charles Munger launched the campaign to qualify the Congressional Redistricting Initiative for the 2010 ballot. Munger was also a key supporter of 2008's Proposition 11, having given about $2 million to that effort.[5]

The New York Times characterizes Proposition 20's supporters as "an unlikely collection of election-reform groups, civil rights nonprofits and former officials from both major parties who say that the current system of redistricting has left politicians unaccountable."[6]

Supporters of Proposition 20 include:

Arguments in favor

Arguments were submitted to the official California Voter Guide on behalf of a "yes" vote on Proposition 20, as were rebuttals to the arguments provided by Prop 20 opponents. The signers of these arguments were:

Kathay Feng of Common Cause speaks on behalf of Proposition 20
  • David Pacheco, the California President of AARP
  • Kathay Feng, the executive director of California Common Cause
  • John Kabateck, the executive director of the California chapter of the National Federal of Independent Business
  • Alice Huffman, President, the California chapter of the NAACP
  • Julian Canete, the executive director of the California Hispanic Chambers of Commerce
  • Richard Rider, chairman of the San Diego Tax Fighters

The arguments made on behalf of Proposition 20 focus on these themes:

  • Proposition 20 will create fair U.S. congressional districts, which will in turn make California's representatives to the U.S. Congress more accountable and responsive, as well as making it easier to vote them out of office.[7]
  • Proposition 20 ends the current system of members of the California State Legislature being in a position to draw the U.S. Congressional district boundaries "for their friends in Congress—districts that virtually guarantee Members of Congress get reelected even when they don’t listen to voters." Also, "Right now, legislators and their paid consultants draw districts behind closed doors to guarantee their friends in Congress are reelected. Sacramento politicians pick the voters for their friends in Congress, rather than voters choosing who will represent them."[7]
  • Proposition 20 is a simple and intuitive extension of a ballot initiative that California voters already approved, California Proposition 11 (2008).[7]
  • Under the current system, politicians have used their redistricting powers to bring about unfair results, and Proposition 20 will put an end to that. For example, "In the last redistricting, Latino leaders sued after a California Congressman had 170,000 Latinos carved out of his district just to ensure he’d get reelected. Now he’s leading the charge against 20!"[7]


Through November 30, 2010, donors of $50,000 and over to the "Yes on Proposition 20/No on Proposition 27" campaign committee were:

Donor Amount
Charles Munger $12,157,441
Charlotte Lowell $956,000
Eli Broad $100,000
Diane Wilsey $100,000
California Chamber of Commerce $85,000
Susan Groff $50,000
Rebecca Q. Morgan $50,000

Note: Charlotte Lowell and Charles Munger are married to each other.[8]


Some of the consultants to the "Yes on Prop 20" committee, and the amounts they have been paid through September 21, include:

  • Goddard Clausen Strategic Advocacy: $400,000
  • Nielsen, Merksamer, Parrinello, Mueller & Naylor: $193,132
  • Alice Huffman. Huffman, who is the president of the California chapter of the NAACP, is one of the signers of the ballot argument in favor of Proposition 20 in the state's official Voter Guide. She is also a paid consultant to the campaign through her consulting business, AC Public Affairs, earning about $15,000/month to "contact other minority groups [to boost] support for the redistricting measure."[9]


Opposition to Proposition 20 is primarily driven by the supporters of Proposition 27.

Donors against

State Rep. Charles Calderon, a $100,000 donor to the "Yes on 27" campaign

Two campaign committees registered in opposition to Proposition 20. They were:

  • The "No on 20" campaign committee. Through November 1, this committee had raised about $400,000, including $100,000 donations from Fred Eychaner and the "United Here Tip State and Local Fund" and a $20,000 donation from Thomas O'Donnell, a lobbyist who lives in Washington, D.C.
  • The "California Coalition for Leadership and Accountability in Budget and Redistricting, Yes on 25 & 27, No on 20" campaign committee. Through October 29, this committee reports having raised no funds of any significance.

Although these two committees have not exercised much financial muscle with two weeks left to go in the election, due to the fact that Proposition 27 contains "poison pill" language with respect to Proposition 20, any money spent to promote a "yes" vote on Proposition 27 amounts to money spent to hurt Proposition 20, and vice versa.

That main campaign committee endorsing a "yes" vote on Proposition 27 raised millions of dollars, including a a substantial amount of money from 17 members of the California's delegation to the U.S. Congress as well as members of the California State Legislature.

Arguments against

Arguments were submitted to the official California Voter Guide urging a "no" vote on Proposition 20, as were rebuttals to the arguments provided by Prop 20 supporters. The signers of these arguments were:

  • Daniel H. Lowenstein, a professor at UCLA and a former chairman of the California Fair Political Practices Commission.[10]
  • Mark Murray, the executive director of "Californians Against Waste"
  • Hank Lacayo, president of the "Congress of California Seniors"
  • Aubry L. Stone, president of the California Black Chamber of Commerce
  • Carl Pope, chairman of the Sierra Club

The themes of the main arguments they make against Proposition 20 (and in favor of Proposition 27) are:

  • Proposition 20 will be "a waste of taxpayer dollars".[7]
  • Proposition 20 is said by its opponents to turn back the clock on redistricting law. Proposition 20 mandates that all districts (including Assembly, Senate, and Congress) must be segregated by income level and mandates that all districts be segregated according to 'similar living standards' and that districts include only people 'with similar work opportunities.'"[7]

Editorial opinion

See also: Endorsements of California ballot measures, 2010
Redistricting on the ballot in 2010
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Yes on Prop 20

Newspapers that have editorialized in favor of Proposition 20 include:

  • Contra Costa Times: "If voters adopt Proposition 20, California finally will have a workable, bipartisan system of drawing both legislative and congressional districts in a manner that makes sense for California voters rather than for the protection of incumbents and to give an unfair advantage to candidates in the dominant political party."[11]
  • Lompoc Record: "the commission holds great promise for the future of California’s political landscape."[12]
  • The Long Beach Press-Telegram: "Politicians despise the independent commission because they no longer get to choose their own voters and keep seats safe for their parties. This is particularly true of Democrats because they currently hold more of those seats than Republicans. They fought the redistricting proposal in 2008, and now they're bankrolling Proposition 27 on the November ballot to kill the commission before it has even begun its work. Californians must reject this unconscionable power grab by voting yes on Proposition 20 and no on Proposition 27."[13]
  • Los Angeles Daily News: "Today nearly every California seat in the Legislature and Congress is safe, and that's one reason lawmakers have little incentive to work together."[14]
  • The Los Angeles Times: "[Prop 20] may gradually break down some of the impediments to efficiency and deal-making that have thwarted Sacramento in recent years and that have wreaked havoc in Washington as well."[15]
  • North County Times: "California's delegation to the House of Representatives is as politically polarized as the state Legislature, and for the same reason: Gerrymandered districts that ensure incumbents are rarely challenged, and are answerable to the most ideologically inflexible voters."[16]
  • The Orange County Register: "Prop. 20 is one of the most critical reforms on November's ballot, one of the few that could actually make a difference in reforming politics in California."[17]
  • Riverside Press Enterprise: "California has no reason to backtrack on governmental reforms. The dismal records of state and federal legislators should spur voters to expand changes that can improve government, not toss the whole effort out. Thus in November voters should pass Prop. 20, and reject Prop. 27."[18]
  • San Bernardino Sun: "The process of selecting the first commission has been completely transparent, with all 30,000 applications posted on the Web and 120 finalist interviews streamed live. Once the 14-member panel is chosen, it will work in public, in contrast to the closed-door plotting in Sacramento."[19]
  • San Diego Union-Tribune: "Given this troubling picture, voters should embrace a redistricting system likely to yield a California congressional delegation with fewer ideologues. Voters are demanding change – and with good reason. Proposition 20 is about bringing change and undermining the status quo. We urge a yes vote."[20]
  • Santa Rose Press Democrat: "There is a public price to pay for letting legislators draw their own districts, in effect choosing their voters. Incumbents whose only threats are term limits and primary challengers have little incentive to compromise".[21]
  • Santa Cruz Sentinel: "Proposition 20 would add congressional districts to the purview of the 14-member citizen panel and take it away from the very politicians who benefit from non-competitive districts."[22]
  • San Gabriel Valley Tribune: "Once these earnest citizen watchdogs get rolling, no one in the state - excepting the venal, self-interested pols who used to have the job - will have the kind of expertise they will in California's electoral demographics. They will be perfectly equipped to redraw the congressional districts that, in theory, bring together true communities of interest within a district's boundaries to represent California in our federal government."[23]
  • Ventura County Star: "Proposition 20 would not involve any additional state cost. Best of all, it embodies the values of good government, efficiency and economy in mapping out new districts."[24]

No on Prop 20

  • Sacramento Bee: "While [supporters of Proposition 20] are right to say that many congressional districts are drawn for purely partisan purposes and unfairly protect incumbents, reform needs to happen on the national level, not just in a single state. California's interests could be harmed if it alone undertook an experiment in reforming how congressional districts are drawn. Imprudently mapped districts could leave the state with far less seniority in Congress than it now enjoys, giving the state less clout over appropriations and legislation."[25]
  • San Francisco Bay Guardian: "But the commission is hardly a fair body — it has the same number of Republicans as Democrats in a state where there are far more Democrats than Republicans. And most states still draw lines the old-fashioned way, so Prop. 20 could give the GOP an advantage in a Democratic state. States like Texas and Florida, notorious for pro-Republican gerrymandering, aren't planning to change how they do their districts."[26]

Path to the ballot

See also: California signature requirements

694,354 signatures were required to qualify the initiative for the ballot. Supporters turned in 1,180,623 signature in mid-March 2010, and election officials announced on May 5, 2010 that after an inspection process, the signatures met or exceeded the minimum threshold for ballot qualification.[1]

The petition drive management company hired to collect the signatures was National Petition Management. NPM was paid $1,937,380 (through May 6) for their signature-gathering services.[27]

See also: 2010 ballot measure petition signature costs

See also

External links

Suggest a link

Basic information



Additional reading


  1. 1.0 1.1 Sacramento Bee, "Ballot measure to expand Prop 11 to Congress OK'd", May 5, 2010
  2. July 2 version of the ballot label for Proposition 20, Congressional Redistricting
  3. Modesto Bee, "Stage set for epic bloodletting", October 31, 2009
  4. 4.0 4.1 San Diego Union Tribune, "Inland population tilt will reshape districts", November 16, 2009
  5. From The Capitol, "Redistricting Commission repeal gets boost from House Dems", February 2, 2010
  6. New York Times, "Tackling Redistricting With Money and Zeal", October 7, 2010
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 7.3 7.4 7.5 Official Voter Guide for Proposition 20
  8. Ventura County Star, "Voters face two competing redistricting propositions", September 26, 2010
  9. Sacramento Bee, "California NAACP chief signs ballot argument, profits from campaign", September 16, 2010
  10. KQED-TV, "Give Redistricting Back To Legislature?", December 29, 2009
  11. Contra Costa Times, "Contra Costa Times editorial: We recommend yes on Proposition 20, no on 27", September 6, 2010
  12. Lompoc Record, "Props. 20, 27: The flip sides of real change", October 1, 2010
  13. Long Beach Press-Telegram, "Yes on Prop. 20, no on Prop. 27", September 13, 2010
  14. Los Angeles Daily News, "Vote yes on Prop. 20, no on Prop. 27 for a much improved political system", September 14, 2010
  15. Los Angeles Times, "Drawing the lines: Democrats prosper by drawing themselves solidly Democratic seats, and Republicans benefit equally by lines drawn to protect their elected officials. It's time to undo this system, so yes on Prop. 20 and no on Prop. 27.", September 24, 2010
  16. North County Times, "Yes on Prop. 20, No on 27", August 31, 2010
  17. Orange County Register, "Extend redistricting reform to Congress", September 16, 2010
  18. Riverside Press Enterprise, "Yes on 20; no on 27", September 7, 2010
  19. San Bernardino Sun, "Vote to improve our government", September 28, 2010
  20. San Diego Union Tribune, "Redistricting reforms must advance", September 7, 2010
  21. Santa Rose Press Democrat, "Yes on Prop. 20, no on 27"
  22. Santa Cruz Sentinel, "As We See It: Yes on 20, No on 27", October 3, 2010
  23. San Gabriel Valley Tribune, "Yes on Prop. 20 for fair districts", September 28, 2010
  24. Ventura County Star, "Prop. 20: Yes Prop. 27: No way", September 2, 2010
  25. Sacramento Bee, "Leave redistricting reform alone - No on Propositions 20 and 27", September 17, 2010
  26. San Francisco Bay Guardian, "Endorsements 2010: State ballot measures", October 5, 2010
  27. Campaign expenditures, VOTERS FIRST