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After the United States census is tabulated every ten years (last done in 2000), state legislatures nationwide receive information on the re-apportionment of representatives that their respective states will receive in the U.S. Congress. With a maximum of 435 representatives in the House, some states stand to lose congressional seats while others may gain them. Following this zero-sum apportionment, the legislatures designate territories for each member of Congress to represent.

In California, the legislature also possesses control over the re-districting of the State Assembly, State Senate and Board of Equalization. In all cases, the newly drawn district lines serve a single overriding purpose -- to protect incumbents with prospects of easy re-election. This manipulation of representative territories, better known as gerrymandering (derived from former Massachusetts Governor Elbridge Gerry, who signed a bill into law that re-districted his state to overwhelmingly favor his political party), is as illegal as it is commonplace, yet few convictions are made. Consequently, gerrymandering deprives Californians of a legitimate choice.

Take a look at the current district maps, drawn solely to protect incumbent politicians. Instead of mapping districts based on common geographic and community interests, Sacramento bureaucrats have designed districts that provide "safe" Democrat and Republican seats, leaving few areas to be contested. The result is "politics as usual."

We must fight this battle as it threatens our representative democracy. Please join us in supporting a plan that will take re-districting needs out of the politicians' hands and restore the individual voices of all Californians.

You can reach Michael Wissot by contacting SymAction Communications