Vote 2K Coalition
44 Summerfield St.
(Thousand Oaks, CA) An initiative that would ban gerrymandering in California was filed today with the Legislative Council, in preparation for an appearance on the November 2000 ballot. Organizers say the petition for legal advice was accompanied by twice as many signatures as are required for the procedure. Circulation of petitions to certify the proposal for the November 2000 general election will begin next year. Constitutional amendments require over 600,000 signatures to qualify for the ballot.
The "Fair Vote 2K" proposal would automate the entire districting process, eliminating legislative control and instructing the Secretary of State to execute a specific procedural process for creating State Assembly, Senate, Board of Equalization and Congressional districts after the national census. The process uses objective geometric and proximity measures to create compact electoral districts with nearly equal population. The "seed and accumulate" process is written into the initiative as statutory code.
"This is a critical reform for California's elections," says author William Westmiller. "With a simple computer program, we can eliminate the partisan and contentious process that costs taxpayers millions of dollars and compromises their right to have an equal impact on the electoral process," he said. Westmiller is California Coordinator for the Republican Liberty Caucus, was a candidate for a Republican congressional nomination last year, and served as National Secretary and California Chairman of the Libertarian Party in the 1970s. Westmiller expressed optimism about gaining support from all political activists, including Democrats. "Governor-elect Gray Davis promised a fair and equitable districting policy after his election," noted Westmiller, "and this proposal will implement those noble objectives."
Westmiller has set up a "Fair Vote 2K Coalition" to promote the plan. "We've received encouraging support from political activists in several parties, as well as a wide range of academics interested in the project." Westmiller says he won't be releasing the names of advisors and supporters until representatives of all parties have endorsed the "Fair Vote 2K" draft proposal. "We hope to achieve a broad coalition with both partisan and non-partisan support from all quarters before the petition is circulated," says the Thousand Oaks businessman.
Details of the plan are on a temporary Internet website which includes the latest draft of the initiative, a schedule for qualification, and commentary on various aspects of the proposal. Data files from the Census Bureau and a preliminary program can also be downloaded from the website.
"We've reviewed the legal aspect very carefully," says Westmiller, "concluding that this plan is a perfect implementation of Supreme Court rulings on districting. Because it forbids any consideration of voting history, registration, race, creed, sex or national origin, there are no discriminatory factors in the procedure. The primary directives of the Supreme Court regarding districting have emphasized equal population. This plan requires a maximum population variance of less than one percent among all electoral districts."
"What we're proposing," says the author, "is simply to ensure that every voter is treated equally under the law." Westmiller, 51, is the owner of Paper Depot, a retail store in Thousand Oaks that specializes in designer desktop-publishing papers. He also writes a weekly internet column on national issues from a "libertarian-Republican" viewpoint. Westmiller has been active in several California initiative campaigns. In the late 1970s, Westmiller conducted a ballot petition drive for an independent Presidential candidate and wrote the ballot argument for a California Proposition.
Legislative Council Contact
Lara Bierman (916) 445-4169
Send request to email or snail mail address above.
Free email updates are available on request to William@westmiller.com.
Free printed newsletters may be requested on-line or by writing to "FV2K Coalition"
Initiative Copy (2 pages)
Op-Ed Commentary (2 pages)