Thursday, July 7, 2005

Redistricting measure could drop off ballot

Today's San Francisco Chronicle features an article by John Wildermuth regarding the potential for Proposition 77, Governor Schwarzenegger's redistricting measure, to be removed from the ballot. More information about this and the other seven measures slated to appear on the November 8 statewide ballot is available from CVF. Excerpts from the Chronicle article are below.


A mistake involving an initiative that would change the way California draws its lines for politicians' districts could force the high- profile measure off November's special election ballot.

The problem arose when backers of the reapportionment initiative, now listed for the special election ballot as Proposition 77, turned in one version of the proposed measure to the state attorney general's office for review but circulated an earlier, slightly different version when collecting the signatures needed to qualify the initiative for the ballot.

Backers of the initiative noticed the problem last month and informed Secretary of State Bruce McPherson. Last week, McPherson turned the problem over to state Attorney General Bill Lockyer, who is now reviewing the documents.

No one is sure what will happen to the initiative.

"This is uncharted territory,'' said Nathan Barankin, a spokesman for Lockyer. "No one in this office has any recollection of proponents for an initiative submitting one version (to the attorney general) for title and summary and then choosing to circulate a different version.''

If Lockyer decides the only official version of the initiative is the one turned into his office, then the 900,000 signatures collected for the measure could be ruled invalid.

Ted Costa, who led the effort for the redistricting initiative, expects the issue to go to court, although he said the differences between the two documents were little more than word changes for style purposes.


The initiative would take the power to draw the district lines for the state Senate, Assembly, House of Representatives and Board of Equalization away from the Legislature and give it to a panel of retired judges. Schwarzenegger said the change was needed to make elections more competitive and make officeholders more responsible to the voters.


Schwarzenegger is trying to keep the redistricting initiative on the ballot, with aides arguing that differences between the two versions of the measure are so minor that they have no real effect.

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