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Oregon Petition Aims For New Redistricting Method

Oregon Petition Aims For New Redistricting Method

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SALEM, Ore. – Census workers are still going door-to-door across the Northwest to make sure everyone gets counted. In Oregon, state lawmakers will use the results of the tally to re-draw political boundaries next year. That is, unless, an effort underway to change that system succeeds.

Activists are circulating an initiative petition that would take the process of creating legislative boundaries out of the hands of state lawmakers. Right now the legislature has the once-a-decade task of drawing a new map. Ross Day of the conservative group Common Sense for Oregon says that's a conflict of interest.

Ross Day: “Legislators get to draw their own district lines, and they do it in such a way as to guarantee that they continually get re-elected. That's not necessarily, at least in my opinion, in the best interests of Oregonians.”

The petition Day's group is pushing would change the Oregon Constitution. If voters approve it, legislative redistricting would be in the hands of a five-member panel of judges. It would also mean the Oregon Secretary of State would have no say in the process. Republicans criticized Oregon's last redistricting plan in 2001. It was created by former Secretary of State Bill Bradbury after lawmakers and then-governor John Kitzhaber were unable to agree on a plan.

Washington state has a redistricting commission whose members are appointed by state lawmakers.

Text of Initiative Petition 50:

http://www.sos.state.or.us/elections/irr/2010/050text.pdf

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