California Assembly passes bill to end prison-based gerrymandering
by Aleks Kajstura, June 1, 2011
The bill, introduced by Assemblymember Davis, had previously been approved by the Assembly Committee on Elections and Redistricting. The votes on the bill and discussions of prison-based gerrymandering in California clearly illustrate that this is not a partisan issue. The Los Angeles Sentinel reports that the bill would clarify California electoral law and ensure equal districts regardless of prison populations. Organizations that support the bill include: NAACP Legal Defense Fund, Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights, the League of Women Voters, Drug Policy Alliance, Legal Serves for Prisoners with Children, Friends Committee on Legislation, the Prison Policy Initiative, the Greater Sacramento Urban League, the Advancement Project, the Ella Baker Center for Human Rights, First AME and the California Black Pastors Association.
While the State works to end prison-based gerrymandering in state redistricting, California counties are taking action in local redistricting efforts. Imperial County studied the issue and decided not to include prison populations in its redistricting data. A resolution to prohibit the use of prison populations in redistricting was just recommended by a County Supervisor in Madera County.