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The California Supreme Court will rule Friday on what state Senate district boundary lines will be in effect for this year's legislative elections if a pending referendum qualifies for the ballot.

Justices will post their ruling at 10 a.m. Friday on the court's website, said Lynn Holton, Supreme Court spokeswoman, in a press release.

The matter stems from a referendum attempt by a Republican-backed group, Fairness and Accountability in Redistricting, which opposes new state Senate maps drawn by a citizens commission and has gathered signatures in an effort to overturn them at the ballot box.

Because this year's legislative elections will be held before the group's map challenge could be decided by voters, the Supreme Court must decide which boundary lines will be used if the referendum qualifies for the ballot.

County elections offices currently are counting signatures filed by FAIR to determine whether 504,760 are from valid voters, which would place the newly drawn Senate maps on the November ballot.

The Supreme Court conceivably could order the FAIR-challenged Senate maps to be used this year. Justices also could revive maps that were in effect from 2002-10 or select a special master to draw new districts.

California's legislative and congressional districts were drawn last year, for the first time ever, by a 14-member citizens commission consisting of five Democrats, five Republicans, and four independent or minor-party voters. The Legislature drew political districts in decades past.

* Updated at 2:20 p.m. to add information about the Supreme Court's options and about the structure of the redistricting commission.



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