By numerous measures, independent citizens commissions have created districts that are more fair than the districts drawn by legislators. Consider California’s commission, the model for Fair Districts PA’s plan.
- Transparent process: First, the California Citizens Redistricting Commission was successful in meeting the mandated goals of a nonpartisan and transparent process. The commission held 34 public hearings that included 2,700 speakers; held 70 deliberation meetings; and reviewed 22,000 written submissions from the public.
- Competitive races: In the elections following redistricting by the commission, new candidates won in 14 congressional districts, 38 state assembly (house) districts, and 9 state senate districts. A study by the Public Policy Institute of California that examined the electoral reforms concluded that the new districts “altered the electoral landscape, leading many incumbents to pass on re-election, forcing others to introduce themselves to unfamiliar voters, and increasing the number of competitive races overall.”
- Voter trust: The final maps were upheld during legal challenge, and voters approved of the commission’s work by 2 to 1.
More about lessons from other states