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State of California November 2, 2010 Election
Proposition 20
Redistricting of Congressional Districts
State of California

Initiative Constitutional Amendment - Majority Approval Required

Pass: 5,733,104 / 61.2% Yes votes ...... 3,628,769 / 38.8% No votes

See Also: Index of all Propositions

Results as of Nov 30 4:33pm, 100.0% of Precincts Reporting (24845/24845)
Information shown below: Summary | Fiscal Impact | Yes/No Meaning | Impartial Analysis | Arguments |

Should the state Constitution be amended to have the Citizens Redistricting Commission redistrict for the U.S. House of Representatives, to change existing redistricting criteria, and to reduce the redistricting timeline?

Summary Prepared by the State Attorney General:

  • Removes elected representatives from the process of establishing congressional districts and transfers that authority to the recently-authorized 14-member redistricting commission.
  • Redistricting commission is comprised of five Democrats, five Republicans, and four voters registered with neither party.
  • Requires that any newly-proposed district lines be approved by nine commissioners including three Democrats, three Republicans, and three from neither party.

Fiscal Impact from the Legislative Analyst:
No significant net change in state redistricting costs.

Meaning of Voting Yes/No
A YES vote on this measure means:
The responsibility to determine the boundaries of California's districts in the U.S. House of Representatives would be moved to the Citizens Redistricting Commission, a commission established by Proposition 11 in 2008. (Proposition 27 on this ballot also concerns redistricting issues. If both Proposition 20 and Proposition 27 are approved by voters, the proposition receiving the greater number of "yes" votes would be the only one to go into effect.)

A NO vote on this measure means:
The responsibility to determine the boundaries of California's districts in the U.S. House of Representatives would remain with the Legislature.

Impartial Analysis from the Legislative Analyst
This is an excerpt only -- See the link at upper right for the full text of the impartial analysis.

This measure takes the responsibility to determine boundaries for California's congressional districts away from the State Legislature. Instead, the commission recently established by voters to draw district boundaries of state offices would determine the boundaries of congressional districts.


In a process known as "redistricting," the State Constitution requires that the state adjust the boundary lines of districts once every ten years following the federal census for the State Assembly, State Senate, State Board of Equalization (BOE), and California's congressional districts for the U.S. House of Representatives. To comply with federal law, redistricting must establish districts which are roughly equal in population.

Recent Changes to State Legislature and BOE Redistricting. In the past, district boundaries for all of the offices listed above were determined in bills that became law after they were approved by the Legislature and signed by the Governor. On some occasions, when the Legislature and the Governor were unable to agree on redistricting plans, the California Supreme Court performed the redistricting.

In November 2008, voters passed Proposition 11, which created the Citizens Redistricting Commission to establish new district boundaries for the State Assembly, State Senate, and BOE beginning after the 2010 census. To be established once every ten years, the commission will consist of 14 registered voters--5 Democrats, 5 Republicans, and 4 others--who apply for the position and are chosen according to specified rules.

When the commission sets district boundaries, it must meet the requirements of federal law and other requirements, such as not favoring or discriminating against political parties, incumbents, or political candidates. In addition, the commission is required, to the extent possible, to adopt district boundaries that:

  • Maintain the geographic integrity of any city, county, neighborhood, and "community of interest" in a single district. (The commission is responsible for defining "communities of interest" for its redistricting activities.)
  • Develop geographically compact districts.
  • Place two Assembly districts together within one Senate district and place ten Senate districts together within one BOE district.

Current Congressional Redistricting Process. Currently, California is entitled to 53 of the 435 seats in the U.S. House of Representatives. Proposition 11 did not change the redistricting process for these 53 congressional seats. Currently, therefore, redistricting plans for congressional seats are included in bills that are approved by the Legislature.

Proposition 11, however, did make some changes to the requirements that the Legislature must meet in drawing congressional districts. The Legislature--like the commission--now must attempt to draw geographically compact districts and maintain geographic integrity of localities, neighborhoods, and communities of interest, as defined by the Legislature. Proposition 11, however, does not prohibit the Legislature from favoring or discriminating against political parties, incumbents, or political candidates when drawing congressional districts.


Proposed New Method for Congressional Redistricting. This measure amends the Constitution to change the redistricting process for California's districts in the U.S. House of Representatives. Specifically, the measure removes the authority for congressional redistricting from the Legislature and instead gives this authority to the Citizens Redistricting Commission. The commission would draw congressional districts essentially as it draws other district lines under Proposition 11. The commission, for example, could not draw congressional districts in order to favor incumbents, political candidates, or political parties. The commission also is to consider the geographic integrity of cities, counties, neighborhoods, and communities of interest. As under Proposition 11, compliance with federal law would be required.

"Community of Interest" Defined. In addition to adding similar criteria for congressional redistricting as those established in Proposition 11, the measure defines a "community of interest" for both congressional redistricting and redistricting of State Assembly, State Senate, and BOE seats. A community of interest is defined as "a contiguous population which shares common social and economic interests that should be included within a single district for purposes of its effective and fair representation."

Two Redistricting-Related Measures on This Ballot. In addition to this measure, another measure on the November 2010 ballot--Proposition 27--concerns redistricting issues. Key provisions of these two propositions, as well as current law, are summarized in Figure 1. If both of these measures are approved by voters, the proposition receiving the greater number of "yes" votes would be the only one to go into effect.

See Figure 1 (click here and scroll down to view) Comparing Key Provisions of Current Law and November 2010 Propositions on the Drawing of Political Districts

Arguments Submitted to the Secretary of State

Summary of Arguments FOR Proposition 20:
TAXPAYER, GOOD GOVERNMENT GROUPS SUPPORT 20 so the voter-approved Citizens Redistricting Commission will draw fair districts for the Legislature AND Congress. POLITICIANS oppose 20 so they can keep power to draw "safe" Congressional districts. YES on 20 helps us vote politicians out of office for not doing their jobs.

Summary of Arguments AGAINST Proposition 20:
Vote No on 20. Accountability to the people is the fundamental principle of our form of government. But 20 gives a non-accountable fourteen-person bureaucracy even more power. And this bureaucracy will cost you money! Our state is in crisis! Unemployment, crime, massive debt. Stop the nonsense. No on 20.
Contact FOR Proposition 20:
Yes on 20, No on 27--Hold Politicians Accountable, a coalition of taxpayers, seniors, good government groups, small business and community organizations.
925 University Ave.
Sacramento, CA 95825
(866) 395-6121

Contact AGAINST Proposition 20:
No on 20 6380 Wilshire Boulevard, Suite 1612
Los Angeles, CA 90048
(323) 655-4065

  What is Prop 20?

Video Overview

Official Voter Information Guide

Secretary of State

Legislative Analyst's Office Additional Nonpartisan Sources

League of Women Voters of California Education Fund

  • Pros and Cons - A nonpartisan explanation of this state proposition, with supporting and opposing arguments
  • Easy Voter Guide - A brief summary of this state proposition
Public Radio California Choices Campaign Finance Data

Secretary of State

California Voter Foundation
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