Senate map referendum qualifies for November vote

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) – A Republican-backed referendum challenging the new state Senate districts has qualified for the November ballot. The Secretary of State’s office announced Friday that supporters had gathered the 504,760 valid signatures needed to qualify. Supporters had turned in petitions with 711,000 voter signatures. Last month the California Supreme Court upheld the political map, which was drawn by the state’s independent redistricting commission. The justices concluded that the commission’s maps were the most appropriate. Concerned that the new boundaries could diminish their political clout, Republicans challenged the boundaries. They argued that the citizens commission improperly used race as a factor in creating voting districts. Jeanne Raya, the chairwoman of the commission, says it drew maps in an “open, transparent and nonpartisan” process. Newly drawn state Assembly districts were not challenged.

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