A state supreme court ruling last week has rendered Prop 40 dead -- kind of. The proposition slated for the November ballot challenged recently redrawn lines for state Senate districts, which are expected to give Democrats a two-seat advantage in that house.
Republicans spent $2.3 million gathering signatures for the referendum to be placed on the ballot. If approved -- that'd be a "no" vote by a majority of voters -- it wouldn't affect district maps for November election, but would moving forward. The Citizens Redistricting Commission, which was created by the approval of a 2008 proposition, created new district lines for Congress, Assembly, Senate, and Board of Equalization, but only the Senate maps were challenged.
But the court "seemed to indicate it would draw lines similar to the commission's lines even if a referendum to reverse the districts were approved," according to Joe Mathews at Prop Zero.
So backers of Prop 40 have bowed out. "With the court's action, we are no longer asking for a no vote," read a statement signed by Julie Vandermost, chairwoman of Fairness and Accountability in Redistricting.
Still, Prop 40 will remain on the ballot, which Mathews calls dumb: "The state needs a rule that permits a measure to be removed from the ballot when an initiative or referendum's proponent and the legislature agree that it should be removed."
That leaves room for concern for Stan Forbes, the redistricting commission's chairman. "You just can't assume that the public is going to be educated about the issue and could vote against us regardless of the fact that it's not being campaigned for so I think we just have to be concerned about that," he told Capitol Public Radio.
So in the name of education:
- A "yes" vote on Prop 40 means voters want to keep the State Senate maps drawn by the Citizens Redistricting Commission.
- A "no" vote means voters want the State Senate maps redrawn.