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 onthe 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 27 is one of two redistricting measures on the November 2010 ballot, the other being Proposition 20. Proposition 27 would amend the constitution by returning authority to draw district boundaries for the State Assembly, State Senate, and BOE to the Legislature. This would reverse the effects of Proposition 11, which passed on November 4, 2008. Proposition 27 would also require that the Legislature hold hearings before and after district boundary maps are introduced. Proposition 27 would delete existing requirements including those related to arranging different types of districts together and creation of geographically compact districts. Under this measure, the population of each district must be nearly equal with other districts or the same office (with a difference in population of no greater than one person).
Proposition 20 would enhance Proposition 11. Proposition 20 would transfer congressional districts to the authority of the redistricting commission. Proposition 20 also defines a "community of interest" for all districts. If both of these measures are approved by voters, the proposition receiving the greater number of “yes” votes would go into effect, canceling the passage of the other measure.