Thursday, August 11, 2005

State appeals court keeps redistricting measure off the ballot

Prop 77's proponents lost another court battle in their effort to keep their measure on the November statewide special election ballot. They intend to appeal to the California Supreme Court. Excerpts from Tuesday's AP story are below.


A state appeals court on Tuesday refused to put Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's redistricting initiative back on November's special election ballot, saying supporters' use of two versions to qualify the measure was a "clear violation" of the constitution.

"The petitioners could easily have avoided or discovered and corrected the problem of different versions before the circulation of petitions...," the 3rd District Court of Appeal said in a 2-1 decision.

"Their failure to make a public disclosure (before the measure qualified for the ballot) has tainted ... the ballot pamphlet review process," said Justices Coleman Blease and M. Kathleen Butz.

Presiding Justice Arthur Scotland dissented, saying the measure's constitutional issues should be decided after the election.

Schwarzenegger said the ruling "ignored the will of nearly one million Californians who signed petitions demanding redistricting reform. Those voters knew they were signing petitions in support of reform and they deserve to get it," he said in a statement.

Daniel Kolkey, an attorney representing the measure's supporters, said the decision would be appealed to the state Supreme Court.

The measure is one of three Schwarzenegger placed on the Nov. 8 ballot and is a cornerstone of his "year of reform" package to remake state government. He also wants a state spending cap and teachers to work longer before being granted tenure.

The redistricting proposal would remove state lawmakers' power to draw boundaries for Congress, the Legislature and the state Board of Equalization, giving that responsibility instead to a panel of retired judges.

It ran into legal problems after supporters said they had inadvertently used two versions of the initiative during the qualification process. The version that was presented on voter petitions was different from the one submitted to the attorney general's office for preparation of a title and summary to go on the petitions and ballot.

The attorney general's office said that violated a clear-cut constitutional requirement that the same version of the initiative sent to the attorney general's office be used on petitions.


Tuesday's ruling said the text circulated by proponents differed in 17 places from that submitted to the attorney general's office.

"This ruling is important for California voters because it protects the integrity of the initiative process," Attorney General Bill Lockyer said in a statement. "I'm gratified the court found that when it comes to complying with constitutional mandates designed to safeguard the integrity of our elections, it's not good enough to be in the ballpark. You have to play by the rules."

No comments:

Post a Comment