Redistricting is the redrawing of boundaries for legislative districts every 10 years following the national census to reflect changes in population. The governor has the authority to approve or veto proposed districts.
Redistricting and reapportionment, the allocation of seats to states, help determine the partisan makeup of our legislative bodies, and strongly affect the representation of ethnic groups and geographic areas within the state. The high political stakes of redistricting and reapportionment have led to recurring struggles over control of the process.
In a 2005 special election, Governor Schwarzenegger supported Proposition 77, which sought to transfer authority to redraw congressional and legislative district boundaries from the legislature to a panel of retired judges. The measure was defeated by a wide margin. With the passage of Proposition 11 on the November 2008 ballot, authority to redraw Assembly, Senate, and Board of Equalization district boundaries transferred from the legislature to a 14-person legislative redistricting commission.
Proposition 20 is one of two redistricting measures on the November 2010 ballot. Proposition 20 would enhance Proposition 11, which transferred authority to redraw Assembly, Senate, and Board of Equalization district boundaries from the legislature to a 14-person legislative redistricting commission, beginning with the 2010 Census. Proposition 20 would add congressional districts to the redistricting commission's authority. Under the measure, the commission must consider the geographic integrity of cities, counties, neighborhoods, and communities of interest when drawing new lines.
Proposition 20 defines a "community of interest" for all congressional, State Senate, State Assembly, and Board of Equalization District seats. Proposition 20 defines 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.”
Another proposition on the November ballot addresses redistricting issues. Proposition 27 would amend the constitution by returning authority to draw district boundaries for the State Assembly, State Senate, and Board of Equalization to the Legislature. This would reverse the effects of Proposition 11 which transferred authority to redraw districts from the legislature to a legislative redistricting commission. If both Proposition 20 and Proposition 27 are approved by voters, the proposition receiving the greater number of “yes” votes would go into effect.