“No legal battles for California’s new election maps. But what lessons can be learned?”

Cal Matters:

As the clock struck midnight on Feb. 10, 14 people scattered around California collectively exhaled in relief.

The 14 are members of the state’s independent citizens redistricting commission who drew 120 new districts for the Legislature, 52 for Congress and four for the state Board of Equalization that voters will use in this year’s election. The commissioners struggled at times to reach consensus, and their mapping was critiqued nearly every step of the way by some experts, advocates, elected officials and the public. 

But after all the criticism, the commission approved the maps unanimously in late December, and Feb. 10 — the 45-day deadline for anyone to go to court to block the maps — came and went.

No one sued. 

There’s still one more state hurdle to clear: critics have until March 27 to challenge the maps via a referendum — asking voters to reject them — before the new districts officially become effective. But there’s no sign any such costly effort is underway. (The maps could also be challenged in federal court as violating the U.S. constitution or the Voting Rights Act.)

“The absence of a state lawsuit challenging these maps is a testament to the effectiveness of California’s open, publicly accessible redistricting process and the design of its independent redistricting commission,” current commission Chairperson Russell Yee said in a statement.

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