The U.S. Department of Justice has given the green light for California to allow the newly created Citizens Redistricting Commission to shape the state's congressional district lines.
The decennial task of redrawing the map for state legislative and Board of Equalization districts was shifted from the Legislature to the 14-member panel by a successful 2008 ballot measure. Proposition 20, which was approved last November, added congressional districts to the commission's workload.
The Voting Rights Act requires Department of Justice preclearance for certain changes to election laws or processes, including redistricting, in designated areas. Four California counties are subject to preclearance under Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act.
"Preclearance has confirmed what we have known all along: that Proposition 20 protects the rights of California voters," Proposition 20 proponent and major funder Charles T. Munger Jr. said in a statement. "Now California can move forward to implement Proposition 20 fully and bring fair elections to California's 53 congressional districts."