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2008 California Proposition 11

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Proposition 11 of 2008 (or the Voters FIRST Act) was a law enacted by California voters that placed the power to draw electoral boundaries for State Assembly and State Senate districts in a Citizens Redistricting Commission, as opposed to the State Legislature. To do this the Act amended both the Constitution of California and the Government Code.[1] The law was proposed by means of the initiative process and was put to voters as part of the November 4, 2008 state elections. In 2010, voters passed Proposition 20 which extended the Citizen Redistricting Commission's power to draw electoral boundaries to include U.S. House seats as well.


The Act amended Article XXI of the state constitution and enacted Title 2, Division 1, Chapter 3.2 of the Government Code. These changes transfer authority for establishing Assembly, Senate, and Board of Equalization district boundaries from elected representatives to a fourteen-member commission. The commission is chosen as follows:

  1. Government auditors select sixty registered voters from an applicant pool.
  2. Legislative leaders are permitted to reduce the pool.
  3. Auditors then pick eight commission members by lottery, and those commissioners pick six additional members for a total of fourteen.

The commission must include five commissioners of the largest political party in California (in practice the Democrats), five commissioners from the second largest party (currently the Republicans), and four of neither party. For approval, new district boundaries need votes from three commissioners of the largest party, three from the second largest, and three of the commissioners from neither party. The commission may hire lawyers and consultants to assist it in its work.

The state legislature retains responsibility for drawing district boundaries for California's Congressional Districts, but the Act adds additional criteria that the legislature must follow in drawing those boundaries.


California Common Cause was the advocacy group sponsoring the initiative.

Others supporting the initiative include

  • AARP
  • NAACP California State Conference
  • The Los Angeles Chamber of Commerce
  • The League of Women Voters
  • Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger[2][3] (Republican)
  • Former Governor Gray Davis (Democrat)
  • Former State Controller Steve Westly
  • California Chamber of Commerce
  • California Common Cause
  • California Forward Action Fund
  • California Business Roundtable
  • ACLU - Southern California
  • Bay Area Council
  • Bay Area Leadership Council
  • California Black Chamber of Commerce
  • California Police Chiefs Association
  • League of California Cities
  • California Democratic Council
  • California Republican Assembly
  • California Small Business Association
  • California Taxpayers' Association
  • California Conference of Carpenters
  • Central California Hispanic Chamber of Commerce
  • IndependentVoice.Org
  • National Federation of Independent Business, California
  • North San Diego County NAACP
  • Neighborhoods for Clean Elections
  • Santa Clara Cities Association
  • Silicon Valley Leadership Group
  • Small Business Action Committee
  • California Association of Health Underwriters

Newspaper Editorial boards in favor

Arguments in favor of Prop. 11

Notable arguments that have been made in favor of Prop. 11 include:

  • Under current law the legislature draws its own districts which results in 99 percent of incumbents being re-elected[6]
  • Partisan gridlock caused by the current way of drawing legislative districts has caused the legislature to underperform in its mission of serving the people of California.,[7][8]
  • State legislative contests held in districts drawn by a Proposition 11 commission would be more competitive, leading to voters electing more moderate legislators.[9]

Donors supporting Prop 11

As of September 24, three campaign committees supporting Prop. 11 have filed officially with the Secretary of State's office. Some donors have contributed to more than one of these committees. The largest donors altogether are:

City of Pasadena endorses

On Monday, March 10, 2008 the Pasadena City Council became the first California city to endorse the proposition.[13]

Path to the ballot

Kimball Petition Management was paid $2,332,988 from two separate campaign committees to collect signatures to put this measure on the ballot.[14][15][16][17] Signatures to qualify the measure for the California 2008 ballot measures|November 2008 ballot were submitted to election officials on May 6, 2008. On June 17, the California Secretary of State announced that a check of the signatures had established that the measure qualifies for the ballot.,[18][19]

Supporters file campaign financing complaint

In late August, supporters of Prop. 11 filed a complaint with the Fair Political Practices Commission because the California Correctional Peace Officers Association—a group that opposes Prop. 11—gave contributions totaling $577,000 to the Leadership California committee, which is a campaign committee associated with state senate leader Don Perata. The Prop. 11 group said that it was wrong for the police officers union to give the money to the Perata committee rather than directly to the No on 11, and also alleged that the police union was trying to curry favor with Perata. Days later, the FPPC took the rare step of rejecting the complaint without conducting an investigation.[20][21]


The official committee set up to oppose Proposition 11 was called "Citizens for Accountability; No on Proposition 11".[22] Paul Hefner is the spokesman for the "No on 11" effort.[23]

Opponents to Prop. 11 include

  • U.S. Senator Barbara Boxer
  • House Speaker Nancy Pelosi
  • the California Democratic Party
  • the Mexican American Legal Defense and Education Fund
  • the NAACP Defense Fund
  • the Asian-American Pacific Legal Center

Arguments against Prop. 11

Arguments that have been claimed in opposition to Prop. 11 include:

  • No accountability to taxpayers. Each commission member is guaranteed $300 a day, plus unlimited expenses in the form of staffing, offices, etc.
  • The commission created under Prop. 11 would allow politicians to hide behind the selected bureaucrats to maintain a hold on redistricting as they wish.
  • The overly complicated process created by Prop. 11 would make it easier to mask hidden agendas of the people behind those on the committee.[24]
  • Prop. 11 offers no assurance of the same representation for communities, such as California's Hispanic community in the redistricting process.[4]
  • The current version of Prop. 11 does not include congressional districts as an earlier draft did, thereby not being complete reform and creating additional detractors to the measure.[25]
  • Even when commissions do create competitive districts, the people who get elected in them do not necessarily behave as political moderates.[26]

Democrat against Democrat

Kathay Feng, the main author of the initiative, and director of California Common Cause, said in late June that since the measure qualified for the ballot and the California Democratic Party had announced its opposition, there had been an attempt to bring everybody into line and to encourage those in support of the measure to oppose it.[27]

Donations to opposition campaign

As of September 24, the opposition committee, "Citizens for Accountability; No on 11", had raised $350,000:

  • California Democratic Party, $75,000.
  • California Correctional Peace Officers Association, Truth in American Government Fund, $250,000.
  • Members' Voice of the State Building Trades, $25,000.[28]
  • "Voter's First" campaign committee, $40,000

Polling information

A poll released on July 22, 2008 by Field Poll showed Proposition 11 with 42% support and 30% opposition.[29] A late August poll released by the Public Policy Institute of California showed Prop. 11 with 39% of voters in support.[30]

Month of Poll Polling company In Favor Opposed Undecided
July 2008 Field 42 percent 30 percent 28 percent
August 2008 PPIC 39 percent 36 percent 25 percent
Sept. 2008 PPIC 38 percent 33 percent 29 percent[31]

Result of vote

Electoral results by county.
Electoral results by county.
Proposition 11[32]
Choice Votes %
Referendum passed
6,095,033 50.82
No 5,897,655 49.18
Valid votes 11,992,688 87.26
Invalid or blank votes 1,750,489 12.74
Total votes 13,743,177 100.00


  1. ^ "Full text of Proposition 11" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2008-10-22. Retrieved 2008-10-01.
  2. ^ Arnold in Remap X Archived 2011-05-19 at the Wayback Machine, Newsblog, Dec. 3, 2007
  3. ^ Governor to lead effort to pass redistrict measure, San Jose Mercury News, Dec. 4, 2007
  4. ^ a b "News from California, the nation and world".
  5. ^ "Why Californians should support Prop. 11". SFGate. 12 September 2008.
  6. ^ Voters First Ballot Language Archived 2008-09-18 at the Wayback Machine
  7. ^ Proposition 11 arguments in the California voter's guide Archived 2008-10-02 at the Wayback Machine
  8. ^ Field Poll makes case for Prop 11, backers say Archived 2008-09-22 at the Wayback Machine
  9. ^ "Sacramento Bee, "Budget signed, Schwarzenegger sets sights on re-districting", September 24, 2008". Archived from the original on 2008-09-27. Retrieved 2008-10-01.
  10. ^ Record of donors to Prop 11
  11. ^ Mercury News, Fundraising, alliances on agenda during Schwarzenegger trip, April 16, 2008
  12. ^ a b c "Schwarzenegger takes in a pair of GOP-sponsored fundraisers for redistricting measure". 17 October 2008.
  13. ^ Pasadena Now, City Council Endorses Redistricting Reform Initiative, March 11, 2008 Archived October 7, 2008, at the Wayback Machine
  14. ^ Expenditure detail for Voters First
  15. ^ Expenditure detail for the California Dream Team
  16. ^ September 4, John Wildermuth on; PM, 2008 at 1:12 (4 September 2008). "John Wildermuth: The Governor, the Money and Prop. 11". Politics Blog.
  17. ^ Rose Report, "Common Cause/League of Women Voters Support Redistricting Reform" Archived 2009-06-04 at the Wayback Machine
  18. ^ KPBS News, Governor Schwarzenegger Submits Redistricting Initiative Archived 2008-10-12 at the Wayback Machine, May 7, 2008
  19. ^ Governor to chair drive to qualify redistricting measure, San Diego Union-Tribune, Dec. 3, 2007
  20. ^ " - CBSi".
  21. ^ "Money-laundering suit washes out". 18 September 2008.
  22. ^ No on Prop. 11
  23. ^ August 13, John Wildermuth on; PM, 2008 at 4:30 (13 August 2008). "Democrats Break Ranks on Prop. 11". Politics Blog.
  24. ^ Arguments against Prop. 11 from the "No on 11" website
  25. ^ "FEC sets fundraising cap on ballot measure". The Sacramento Bee. Archived from the original on 2008-10-11. Retrieved 2008-10-01.
  26. ^ "Governor to chair drive to qualify redistricting measure, Fresno Bee, Dec. 3, 2007".
  27. ^ Contra Costa Times, Democratic leaders accused of pressuring supporters of redistricting measure, June 21, 2008
  28. ^ Details of $5,000+ donations to No on 11
  29. ^ "July 22 Field Poll results on Proposition 11" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2008-09-17. Retrieved 2008-10-01.
  30. ^ "Complaint filed over union's contributions to Perata". 28 August 2008.
  31. ^ Wildermuth, John (25 September 2008). "Poll: Same-sex marriage ban not wooing voters". SFGate.
  32. ^ "Statement of Vote: 2008 General Election" (PDF). California Secretary of State. 2008-12-13. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2012-10-18.

Further reading

External links

This page was last edited on 18 December 2020, at 10:01
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