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Redistricting-plan opponents given OK to begin referendum drive

August 26, 2011 |  5:38 pm

Opponents of the new voting districts drawn by a citizens panel for the state Senate were cleared Friday to begin a petition drive to qualify a referendum aimed at overturning the plan.

Republican leaders behind the drive received approval of the title and summary of their referendum petitions from the state attorney general’s office.

The referendum summary tells potential signers that the petition will "(1) Place the revised State Senate boundaries on the ballot and prevent them from taking effect unless approved by the voters at the next statewide election; and (2) Require court-appointed officials to set interim boundaries for use in the next statewide election."

The group behind the drive, Fairness and Accountability in Redistricting, has 90 days to collect 504,000 signatures to qualify the referendum for the June 2012 ballot.

The drive is supported by the California Republican Party, former Gov. Pete Wilson and Senate Republican Leader Bob Dutton of Rancho Cucamonga. They argue that the new districts will give the Democrats a two-thirds majority in the Senate, allowing that house to raise taxes.

-- Patrick McGreevy