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Eight names will be drawn at random Thursday from a pool of 36 finalists for positions on the state's new redistricting commission, and a Santa Monica College political science professor has calculated that there are 3.2 million possible combinations.

What's more, Dr. Brian Lawson has figured the chances of names being drawn by gender, county of residence, income, ethnicity and what he calls being "incumbent friendly," basing his calculations on the detailed profiles of each finalist available on the Internet. He sees 11 of the 36 being "incumbent friendly" due to experience with redistricting and government, and names them in his report.

The state auditor's office will draw the eight names Thursday morning. Those eight will then choose the other six panelists from the remaining pool by the end of the year. The final commission will consist of five Democrats, five Republicans and four who are either independents or minor party registrants.

If Lawson's calculations become reality, the eight names drawn Thursday will have more women than men, more incumbent-unfriendly members than not, more Latinos than members of any other ethnicity, more members with incomes in the $125,000-$250,000 range than any other, and more members (2) from Los Angeles than any other county.

Once chosen, the full commission will redraw 80 Assembly districts, 40 state Senate districts, four Board of Equalization districts and new districts for the state's congressional delegation, whose size (now 53) will be determined from 2010 census data.

It's a new process, born of voter approval of Proposition 11 in 2008 and Proposition 20 this month, the latter adding congressional districts to the commission's authority. And whatever the commission decrees could be subject to court battles thereafter.

Details of Lawson's exercise can be found here.


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