Independent Redistricting Commissions Give Voters the True Power to Choose

Contact: 2005 Roy Ulrich, (310) 396-9927

California Common Cause announces support of reform legislation

Stating that the public interest is best served when electoral districts are drawn by a panel of independent individuals not incumbents, California Common Cause joined with its national organization and Gov. Schwarzenegger today in announcing support for redistricting reform legislation that would create an independent redistricting commission and an open, participatory redistricting process.

California Common Cause joins many organizations, such as the League of Women Voters of California, Center for Governmental Studies, Demos, the Asian Pacific American Legal Center and others to advocate that the essential components for a truly independent and effective redistricting process include:

An independent redistricting panel selected from a diverse pool of individuals who do not have direct ties to politicians, lobbyists or directly interested groups and who are selected through a process that involves the legislature in narrowing the pool, and provides for partisan representation.

A redistricting panel and criteria that prioritizes California’s racial, cultural, and ethnic diversity.

Fair criteria for drawing the state and congressional district lines that include an emphasis on the Voting Rights Act, communities of interest, and competitiveness, as well traditional criteria such as equal population, and contiguity.

Transparent and open deliberations that include public hearings, publication of all maps, transcripts and materials, involvement of expert review, and a ban on ex parte communications.

A requirement that redistricting take place once a decade, following the release of Census data.

“The current redistricting process in California is democracy turned on its head. It is a broken system when politicians choose the voters they want instead of the voters choosing their representatives,” stated Roy Ulrich of California Common Cause.

Ulrich continued, “There are two legislative vehicles, Asm. McCarthy’s ACAX1 3, with agreed upon amendments, and Sen. Lowenthal’s SCA 3. California Common Cause has endorsed both because they capture the basic principles of a representative independent panel, a clear and fair set of mapping criteria, and a transparent public process. We restate our preference that redistricting should take place once a decade.” California Common Cause has not taken a position on any of the proposed ballot propositions.

A report, “Drawing Lines: A Public Interest Guide to Real Redistricting Reform” will be released by the Center for Governmental Studies and Demos, detailing the above components. The report is available at: and and A press conference on February 23 in Sacramento will be held to discuss the report and recommendations in greater depth.