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From the Los Angeles Times

A bookstore owner from Yolo County, a retired engineer from Claremont, an insurance agent from San Gabriel and an attorney from Norco are among those who will determine how legislative districts are drawn as part of an experiment that promises to drastically change the state’s political landscape.

Until now, the boundaries of legislative and congressional districts were drawn every 10 years by state legislators in a process that critics said was often skewed for partisan advantage or to protect incumbents. Many officeholders have been able to skate from election to election without much in the way of serious competition.

But through a series of ballot measures, California voters have set the state on a radically different course with an unknown outcome. In 2008, voters gave the job of drawing legislative district lines to a new Citizens Redistricting Commission. This month, voters gave the commission additional powers, handing them authority over congressional districts. And Thursday, the first members of that new commission were picked by lottery.

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Last Updated on Friday, 19 November 2010 10:59

From the Wall Street Journal:

Nearly two weeks after the election, Republicans and Democrats remain locked in fight over three close races in the state Senate. The resulting legal wrangling promises to be both expensive — Senate Democrats already $2 million in debt for costly election season — and lengthy.

The stakes could hardly be higher: control of the Senate hangs in the balance, and to the majority party goes outsized influence over the once-a-decade process to redraw district lines in New York.

The process is heavy on politics. After the completion of the U.S. Census, lawmakers in the Assembly and Senate revise the intricate district maps that define their constituencies. In past redistricting efforts, lawmakers in control of the process have adopted artful, demographic-savvy strategies in a bid to create safe seats for incumbents and expand the reach of the majority party.

Read the full report here.

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Last Updated on Tuesday, 16 November 2010 12:37

From the Cleveland Plain Dealer

Politicos mistook Ohio for Fantasy Island last week. Republicans acted as if Nov. 2’s election were over — and they’d won everything statewide. Republicans, of all people, should know that when everyone says a stock is a sure-thing investment, that actually means, “Sell.”

Then President Barack Obama swooped in, saying, “A lot has changed since I came [to Ohio] in those final days of the [2008] election . . .” Correct, Mr. President: When you won, Ohio’s unemployment rate was 7 percent. It’s 10.3 percent now. He also assailed U.S. Rep. John A. Boehner, a suburban Cincinnati Republican who is likely to become speaker of the House if the GOP outruns Nancy Pelosi’s crew in November.

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Last Updated on Monday, 13 September 2010 08:03

From the South Bend Tribune
Republicans almost certainly will do all the redistricting in Indiana. For congressional districts. For the Indiana House. For the Indiana Senate.

And that’s bad news for Democrats for a decade.

The districts drawn next year on the basis of the 2010 Census, with computerized packaging of voters in ways to elect as many Republicans as possible, will be used in elections right on through 2020.

As the New York Times pointed out last week in a front-page article, the main focus nationally is of course on whether Republicans will take control of Congress, but “it is a

lower-profile battle over state legislatures that could strengthen the Republican Party for a decade.”

In most states, including Indiana, state legislatures do the redrawing of districts every 10 years.

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Last Updated on Monday, 13 September 2010 07:59

From the Washington Post

Big states — by population — simply matter more for a variety of reasons but, most notably, because of their role in the decennial Congressional line-drawing process known as redistricting.

Every ten years, a handful of states gain or lose seats based on population rises and declines — a process that hands power to create or destroy careers typically in the hands of a governor and a small group of state legislators.

Big states are typically the, um, biggest, winners and losers from this process and 2011 looks no different with places like Texas and Florida poised to gain seats and Michigan and Oho likely to lose them.

Democrats would gladly cede their seats in Wyoming, Kansas, and Oklahoma if it means they can steal Florida or Texas from Republicans. The ability to move around the 10 combined Congressional districts in those small states is exponentially less appealing than being able to shape the 32 in Texas or the 25 in Florida.

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Last Updated on Tuesday, 7 September 2010 03:33