LOS ANGELES, Calif. - The California Voters FIRST Redistricting Reform Act initiative has qualified for the November ballot. This initiative, which is supported by a coalition of civil rights, voters' rights and business groups, would stop California legislators from drawing their own district lines and insuring their own re-elections.

The American Civil Liberties Union of Southern California, along with the AARP, California Common Cause, The League of Women Voters of California, the Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce, Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, former State Controller Steve Westly, and many other Californians say state legislators need to be more accountable to the voters.

'The ACLU of Southern California supports California Voters FIRST because we are committed to ensuring that California voters are fairly represented in our political process,' Ramona Ripston, executive director of the ACLU/SC, said. 'We are dedicated to democracy and this initiative will give the voters the power to choose their elected officials.

'This broad-based group of good-government reformers like AARP, Common Cause and the League of Women Voters will end the conflict of interest that exists and bring a more accountable and reliable legislature. The current system allows legislators to draw their own district boundaries and only harms voters -- which is why the ACLU/SC wholeheartedly stands behind the initiative, and urges others to do the same.'

The initiative will create a 14-person independent citizens' commission to draw legislative districts. It will be comprised of five Democrats, five Republicans and four individuals from other parties. Under California Voters FIRST, the redistricting process will be open and transparent with opportunity for public input. More than 1.2 million signatures were turned in to county registrars across the state on May 6, 2008 to qualify this measure for the November 2008 ballot.

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