GOP Attacks Senate Maps

Maps cropped

Ah redistricting. A topic only a political junkie could love.

But it has big implications for who's in -- and who's out -- at the California Capitol. 

Now, the issue of political maps may be back before voters in 2012.

County election officials around California have a new task this week: verifying whether enough valid signatures have been collected to stage a new vote next year on the State Senate's political boundaries. 

A Republican-backed group called Fairness and Accountability in Redistricting just turned in more than 700,000 signatures. 

That's far more than the 500,000-plus signatures needed, but these campaigns always collect more as a safety margin.

"Gathering this many signatures in so little time, for a referendum on an issue like redistricting, which lacks public awareness, is an extraordinary accomplishment," Dave Gilliard, a Republican consultant, said in a statement.

Gilliard's group spent more than $2.5 milllion to qualify the referendum.  It seeks to overturn the Senate maps drawn by the state's Citizen Redistricting Commission. 

That group re-drew the boundaries, taking over the job from the state legislature, after voters gave the commission the job in an effort to take partisanship out of the process.

But Republican interests now say the new Senate lines could result in Democrats gaining a two-thirds majority; the magic threshold for budget and tax votes.

Backers of the commission say the referendum is nonsense, noting that many Republicans backed Proposition 11 in 2008, the measure that set up the Citizens Redistricting Commission.

If this qualifies for the ballot, it'll join a growing list of other measures next year on pensions, union dues, and taxes.

More on Redistricting:

Redistricting Commission Wins by Knockout

Court Rejects Challenges to New Election Maps

Flaws in Redistricting

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