This is a definite blow to the California Republican Party which fears that Democrats using the Citizen’s Redistricting Commission’s Maps will be able to take over two-thirds of the number of California State Senate seats in November – paving the way for tax increases.
The California Supreme Court ruled today that state Senate maps drawn by a citizens commission will be used in this year’s elections, despite a pending referendum to overturn them.
The issue came before the High Court after a Republican-backed group, Fairness and Accountability in Redistricting, filed more than 711,000 signatures with county elections offices in a referendum to overturn Senate maps drawn by a 14-member citizens commission.
Californians will decide the fate of the newly drawn Senate districts in November if 504,760 of the signatures are from valid voters. Legislative candidates must file and run their campaigns before then, however, so justices needed to identify district maps to be in effect immediately.
County elections offices face a Feb. 24 deadline for certifying FAIR’s referendum signatures. Thus far, they have verified 57,761 of 80,127 signatures checked. If the percentage of valid signatures holds steady, 72 percent, the referendum would qualify for the ballot.
Twenty Senate seats are up for grabs this year – and the results carry high-stakes politically.
GOP officials contend that the new, commission drawn lines would give Democrats a strong chance of gaining two additional seats in the Senate, enough to gain the two-thirds supermajority needed to raise taxes or fees.
One has to wonder, however, whether the California GOP would have been better to invest their time and effort on electing more Republicans rather than challenging the Citizen’s Redistricting Commission.
The entire California supreme Court decision is here.