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California Journal of Politics and Policy

Managing Editor: Lubenow, Gerald

Ed. by Citrin, Jack / Cain, Bruce / Noll, Roger

Redistricting California: An Evaluation of the Citizens Commission Final Plans

Vladimir Kogan1 / Eric McGhee2

1University of California, San Diego

2Public Policy Institute of California

Citation Information: California Journal of Politics and Policy. Volume 4, Issue 1, Pages 1–22, ISSN (Online) 1944-4370, DOI: 10.1515/1944-4370.1197, February 2012

Publication History

Published Online:

For the first time in California history, a carefully vetted commission of citizens has overseen the delicate task of redrawing the state�s political boundaries. By analyzing the maps produced by the commission and comparing these plans to the redistricting overseen by the legislature a decade earlier, we show that the new process has produced important improvements in terms of both the criteria voters said they cared about and the representational implications of interest to academics and political observers. In many respects, however, the magnitude of these gains has fallen short of what many political reformers may have hoped for. Perhaps the most important lesson from the 2011 round of redistricting is that a fair process, no matter how nonpartisan and participatory, cannot avoid the reality that any redistricting scheme produces both political winners and losers.

Keywords: redistricting; redistricting reform; California politics; political polarization

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