Redistricting backers turn in signatures to overturn new Senate maps [Updated]
Backers of a referendum drive to overturn the new state Senate district maps said Thursday they have begun turning in signatures at all 58 counties.
Referendum proponents, calling themselves Fairness and Accountability in Redistricting (FAIR), have until Sunday to turn in at least 504,000 signatures needed to get the matter on the November ballot.
FAIR is comprised of a group of Republicans who charged that the maps, drawn for the first time by a citizens commission instead of the Legislature, were drawn to favor Democrats. Earlier, the state Supreme Court turned down GOP-backed challenges to state Senate and congressional district maps.
"Our goal is to achieve a state Senate district plan that is fair to all and that follows the criteria laid out in the California Constitution," state Sen. Mimi Walters (R-Laguna Nigel) said in a statement released by FAIR on Thursday.
Twenty-two counties have agreed to open their offices on Sunday so signatures, which still are being collected, can be turned in by the deadline, FAIR spokesman Dave Gilliard said.
If the signatures are found to be sufficient, voters will be asked whether to reject the state Senate district maps and the state Supreme Court will determine what districts to use in the interim.
[Updated at 2:06 p.m., Nov. 10: The California Citizens Redistricting Commission expressed confidence that, if the matter goes before voters, their maps will stand.
“We fully expect that the maps drawn by the voter-created, nonpartisan, independent commission with the input of tens of thousands of Californians will be upheld by the voters just as they have already been upheld by a unanimous state Supreme Court.
“Until then, it is the commission's expectation that our state Senate districts will be used in the 2012 primary and general elections," said Stanley Forbes, current rotating chairman of the Citizens Redistricting Commission.]
-- Jean Merl