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Monday, February 7, 2011

State

Redistricting complicates politicians' 'musical chairs' game
Oakland Tribune
One election is barely behind us, but local politicians -- always looking toward their next electoral opportunities -- are already jockeying ahead of 2012 in the state's never-ending game of political musical chairs.

In this go-round, however, the planning is complicated not only by term limits, but by an ongoing redistricting effort that has left politicians unsure which districts they'll end up sitting in.

National

Census estimates show big gains for US minorities
Associated Press
Racial and ethnic minorities accounted for roughly 85 percent of the nation's population growth over the last decade - one of the largest shares ever - with Hispanics accounting for much of the gain in many of the states picking up new House seats.

Also: Associated Press Video of story

Former Sen. Norm Coleman: We Should ‘Absolutely’ Consider Gutting The Voting Rights Act
ThinkProgress.org
One of the architects of the Republican redistricting efforts, former Sen. Norm Coleman, wants to “reconsider” the entire Voting Rights Act. In an interview with ThinkProgress, Coleman argued that it was “absolutely” the right move to loosen the Voting Rights Act’s provisions that prevent legislators from drawing redistricting maps with a clear racial bias

Also: ThinkProgress Video of Norm Coleman

[Editor: the most entertaining redistricting drama of 2011 is taking shape in Florida.  Voters there approved two ballot measures to set new rules for redistricting, but because five FL counties are under Section 5 rules, the state redistricting rules must be approved by the Department of Justice.  New Governor Rick Scott is opposed to those changes, so his back-door way of killing the ballot measure is to retract their submission from the DOJ. Without DOJ preclearance, the initiative cannot be implemented.]

Gov. Rick Scott sued over decision to halt federal review over redistricting standards

St. Petersberg Times
The war over redrawing Florida's political maps returned to federal court Thursday as five Monroe County voters, along with three advocacy groups, sued Gov. Rick Scott to compel him to follow a federal law requiring the Justice Department review of the new redistricting language approved by voters in November.

Local

Contra Costa prepares to embark on redistricting journey
San Jose Mercury News
A decade ago, Contra Costa's redistricting initiative devolved into an ugly battle over which supervisor would be forced to absorb portions of East Contra Costa, where rapid growth had outpaced the rest of the county.

Then-Supervisor Donna Gerber lost when her four colleagues divided her political stronghold in Walnut Creek and stretched her district from the San Ramon Valley to Brentwood and Discovery Bay.