Last Friday, the courts handed another legal victory to the Citizen’s Redistricting Commission (CRC) when U.S. District Court Judge Stephen Wilson dismissed the GOP-led challenge to the new district maps drawn last year by the non-partisan group.
The California GOP has fought against the maps drawn by the CRC, claiming that they unfairly used racial dividing lines to create districts that will potentially dillute the GOP’s power in the next election cycle.
The response from the CRC has been straightforward thoughout the process, and continued to be on Friday:
“Once again the work of the Citizens Redistricting Commission has been affirmed against baseless partisan attacks,” said commission chairwoman Jeanne Raya in a statement. “The federal court has found that the commission’s process complied with the law and was fair and representative.”
In the spirit of full-disclosure, California Forward was a strong proponent of the CRC when it was created. We worked closely with several key community organizations to ensure the process was open and accessible to californians.
We are especially proud of the fact that, regardless of how one feels about the maps themselves, we monitored a critical process that took place in full view of all Californians and no longer played out in back rooms under the auspices of special interests.
It is this level of extreme transparency that we strive to move toward in all levels of government. Many have clearly taken issue with the job the CRC did and while anything new on this scale will always show room for improvement, it is this spirit of openness under which the CRC was founded that is such a radical and welcome departure from the old model.
“Ten years in the making, and now Californians have a truly independent redistricting that reflects changes in population, adherence to the Voting Rights Act, and respect for communities of interest,” said Fred Keeley, California Forward Leadership Council member. “
“Real reform results in real changes, and we will see those changes in the elections of this decade.”
Several iterations of the maps were presented for public scrutiny and dissected in open town hall forums across the state. The press contextualized each version for the region(s) they covered, respectively, and citizens were given ample avenues to provide feedback directly to the commission before the maps were finalzed.
By applauding the court’s decision to throw out the challenges to the maps, this is not a disparagement of the challengers or the merit of their argument.
Instead, we are encouraged any time change that places government closer to the people is upheld. The CRC is already conducting post-mortem analysis and taking suggestions on how to improve the process for the next round.
It can now do so without distraction.