California Voters’ Guide 2012: Proposition 40

Policy Brief

California Voters’ Guide 2012: Proposition 40

Among a daunting package of ballot questions, here is the free minds and free markets perspective on proposition 30.

Proposition 40: Redistricting State Senate Districts

A yes vote on Proposition 40 approves new State Senate districts drawn by the Citizens Redistricting Commission. If Prop. 40 fails to pass, the State Senate district boundary lines will be adjusted by officials supervised by the California Supreme Court. The proponents wanted people to vote NO and thus veto the Citizens Redistricting Commission districts. But they have changed their mind and no longer support voting NO.

Fiscal Impact

The Legislative Analyst’s Office estimates that if Prop. 40 is approved there will be no fiscal effect on state or local governments. If Prop. 40 fails the state would incur a one-time cost of about $500,000 to establish new Senate districts. Counties would incur one-time costs of about $500,000 statewide to develop new precinct maps and related election materials for the new districts.

Arguments for Proposition 40

Supporters say that approving Prop. 40 means that the State Senate maps drawn by the voter-approved independent Citizens Redistricting Commission will remain in place, while a no vote would give politicians an opportunity to overturn the fair districts drawn by the independent Commission-costing taxpayers hundreds of thousands of dollars in the process.

They argue that California voters have voted repeatedly to have district maps drawn by an independent Commission, not politicians, and that Prop. 40 would reverse those wishes. Moreover, they say the group that wanted people to vote NO on Prop. 40 have since withdrawn.

Supporters of Proposition 40


  • League of Women Voters of California California Common Cause
  • Charles Munger, Jr.
  • AARP California
  • National Federation of Independent Business/California
  • California Democratic Party
  • California Chamber of Commerce
  • Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce
  • California Republican Party

Largest Donors to Yes Campaign as of October 1, 2012

  • Charles Munger, Jr.: $208,294

Arguments Against Proposition 40

The opponents say, “[A]s the Official Sponsor of Proposition 40, our intention was to make sure its qualification for the ballot would stop the current Senate District lines from being implemented in 2012. The Supreme Court reviewed the process and intervened to keep district lines in place. With the court’s action, this measure is not needed and we are no longer asking for a NO vote.”

Opponents of Proposition 40

There is not a No campaign or organized opposition to Prop. 40.

Largest Donors to No Campaign as of October 1, 2012 (reflects contributions made before the decision to withdraw from the campaign)

  • California Republican Party: $1,749,562
  • Friends of Mimi Walters for Senate 2012: $75,500
  • Frank Greinke: $50,000
  • Senator Bob Dutton for Supervisor 2014: $50,00

Discussion of Proposition 40

There is not much to be said about Prop. 40. It only remains on the ballot because the people who put it there could not withdraw it once they changed their minds. When the Supreme Court upheld the Citizens Redistricting Commission boundaries it meant that even if voters vote NO on Prop. 40, it will be overturned. So at this point voting No on Prop. 40 would entail $1 million in expenses and result in no change in district boundaries.


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