Have other states used citizens commissions, and how did they make it happen?

Arizona, California, Idaho, Montana, and Washington have had commissions in place for a number of years. In 2018 voters in Colorado, Michigan, Missouri and Utah passed referendums to create citizen commissions rather than have politicians control the redistricting process. . Ohio has adopted constitutional amendments to reform its redistricting process. The New Hampshire legislature just passed a measure to create an independent commission for their state’s redistricting. And, it is expected that similar reform referendums will be on the ballot in Arkansas and Oklahoma in 2020.

California is the closest analogy to what we’re trying to do in Pennsylvania with HB 22 and HB 23. The California Citizens Redistricting Commission was established to draw state legislative districts with the passage of Proposition 11 in 2008, and was authorized to draw congressional districts with the passage of Proposition 20 in 2010.

The difference is that California got the issue onto the popular ballot without going through the legislature, due to their more accessible system for public initiation of ballot propositions. To adopt a citizens commission in Pennsylvania, where the state constitution defines the redistricting process for state House and Senate districts, a bill to amend the constitution has to pass two successive two-year sessions of the General Assembly. Only then can the proposed amendment be brought up for a popular vote.

More about our progress

More about lessons from other states