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GOP referendum on state Senate districts qualifies for fall ballot

February 24, 2012 |  6:39 pm

California voters will get a chance in November to decide whether to approve new boundaries for state Senate districts drawn by a citizens panel. Republican activists qualified a referendum on the controversial maps Friday.

Elections officials determined that the group Fairness and Accountability in Redistricting turned in 511,457 valid signatures of registered voters, about 6,000 more than were needed to put the referendum on the Nov. 6 ballot.

"FAIR will be asking voters in November to vote 'no' on these faulty Senate maps, so that new, fair and competitive districts can be drawn and put into place for the rest of the decade,” said Dave Gilliard, a Republican political consultant for the group. He said the districts were gerrymandered by the California Citizens Redistricting Commission, which used new census data to redraw the 40 Senate districts. 

State Democratic Party Chairman John Burton said the referendum is "sour grapes" by Republicans who did not get the political advantage they had hoped for in the new districts.

"I believe the voters are going to sustain the commission’s maps, just as they voted for the commission in the first place," Burton said.


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-- Patrick McGreevy in Sacramento