Proposition 20

Isabel Johnson, News Editor

What it is

Proposition 20 requires that California’s congressional districts for the House of Representatives be drawn by a commission of 14 California residents comprised of five Democrats, five Republicans and four of neither party established by 2008’s Prop. 11. This commission is already in charge of drawing districts for the State Senate, State Assembly and State Board of Equalization (BOE), but currently the congressional districts are drawn by the state legislature. Redistricting takes place every 10 years as mandated by the state constitution.

Because both Prop. 20 and Prop. 27 concern redistricting, if both are passed, whichever proposition receives the most “yes” votes will be put into effect.

“The Legislature spent about $3 million in 2001 from its own budget specifically for redistricting activities,” according to the California voter’s guide website. In 2009, the Prop. 11 commission was given $3 million from the General Fund for use in redistricting and an additional $3 million from another fund financed the application and selection of the members of the commission. Prop. 11 also stipulated that future commissions must be funded at the same level with growth for inflation, according to the website.


Supporters of Prop. 20 claim it will stop state legislators from drawing district lines that will keep their political allies in Congress. They also claim it will keep elected officials accountable for their actions in office. They claim it will make it easier to vote members of Congress out of office if they perform poorly.

Opponents of Prop. 20 claim it wastes taxpayer dollars and set back progress on redistricting laws. Charles Munger, Jr. provided more than half the campaign funding for the Yes on 20, No on 27 committee and opponents claim he has class-based reasoning behind his financing. Opponents claim Prop. 20 requires that election districts in California, including those for state legislature, be decided based on income, and liken them to Jim Crow districts.

Supporters and opponents

Supporters of Prop. 20 include AARP, the National Federation of Independent Business/California, the California Hispanic Chambers of Commerce, California NAACP, Cal-Tax, the California Chamber of Commerce, California Common Cause and the Asian Pacific American Public Affairs Association.

Opponents of Prop. 20 include the League of Women Voters, the California State Firefighters’ Association, the California Teachers’ Association and the Sacramento Bee.

Student impact

Which district you live in affects which candidates you can vote for. Regardless of whether or not Prop. 20 passes, redistricting will happen. Prop. 20 would place the power of drawing districts for the House of Representatives in the hands of an appointed commission instead of elected state legislators.

Funding pro and con

Funding for the “Yes on 20, No on 27” committee totaled more than $22 million, with expenditures of more than $21 million since the beginning of the year. Charles T. Munger, Jr., a self-employed physicist, contributed more than $11 million to the campaign. Charlotte A. Lowell, self-employed attorney, contributed around $900,000 and various others contributed anywhere from $100 to $10,000. Other notable contributors included Cal Business Pac (sponsored by the California Chamber of Commerce) at $10,000.

Funding for the No on 20 committee totaled more than $200,000 with expenditures of more than $50,000 this year. Notable contributors included the Mike Feuer for Assembly 2010 campaign, that gave $10,000, Fred Eychaner, an investor from Chicago who gave $100,000 and Haim Saban, Chairman of Saban Capital Group in Los Angelas, who gave more than $32,000.