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A GOP-backed group has formally started the process of seeking to overturn the new state Senate districts drawn by an independent redistricting panel.

An attorney representing a coalition called Fairness and Accountability in Redistricting filed referendum papers with the state attorney general's office yesterday. The effort, run by GOP strategist Dave Gilliard, has the backing of the California Republican Party and the Senate Republican Caucus.

The referendum drive was announced Monday after members of the state's new Citizens Redistricting Commission adopted the political boundaries for congressional, state legislative and Board of Equalization districts that it drafted as part of the decennial redistricting process.

Referendum proponents, who have taken issue with both the process for drafting the maps and the outcome, will have less than three months to collect the 504,760 valid voter signatures needed to ask voters to reject the Senate boundaries. If the referendum qualifies for the June 2012 ballot, the state Supreme Court would draw new maps or decide which maps to use in the upcoming political races.

The executive director of one good government group that supported the voter-approved ballot measures that created the commission blasted the referendum effort, saying in a statement it is "motivated by pure party politics, funded by incumbents, who did not get the safe districts that they wanted."

"They have made a variety of baseless claims that ignore the fact that the maps were approved by a super-majority of Commissioners of both parties and independents and were drawn in a fair and open process with public input at every step," California Common Cause Executive Director Kathay Feng said.

The filing asks the state attorney general to draft a title and summary so proponents can begin collecting signatures. Read it here.


Referendum drive gears up as state's new political maps OK'd


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