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Wednesday, Sep 19 2012 11:00 PM

Yes on Prop. 40: Retain changes in redistricting

By The Bakersfield Californian

Proposition 40 hasn't generated as much smoke as other initiatives on the Nov. 6 ballot, and with good reason: Its original backers have thrown in the towel. They're no longer campaigning. So why are we bothering to endorse it? Two reasons: Prop. 40 remains on the ballot nonetheless, and, because it's classified as a veto referendum, voters' choices may seem counterintuitive. Yes essentially means no and no means yes. Here's all you need to know: Vote yes.

The ballot measure asks voters to repeal California's new state Senate districts, which were drawn up by the Citizens Redistricting Commission. Republicans had hoped getting this referendum on the ballot would prevent the new Senate lines from being implemented in this year's election. However, the Supreme Court upheld the new maps and Republicans have since abandoned the measure. But it's too late to remove Prop. 40 from the ballot.

Therefore, to keep the maps in place, voters must vote yes. That shouldn't be a tough case to make: Voters have spoken on this issue not once but twice, passing Prop. 11 in 2008, which created the citizens commission, and Prop. 20 in 2010, which expanded the commission's purview beyond state Senate and Assembly districts to include Congress.

Voting districts were previously drawn by state lawmakers themselves, often in contorted fashion to ensure that their districts were safe. The new system transforms the drawing of boundaries into a public process overseen by a bipartisan group of citizens, not by politicians huddled behind closed doors.

To ensure these important reforms remain intact, vote yes on Proposition 40.

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