Superior Court Judge Gail Ohanesian has ruled that Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger’s redistricting measure, Proposition 77, must be removed from the November 7 special election ballot in California. The redistricting measure would take away the Democratically controlled state legislature’s power to draw voting districts for state political offices, instead giving this power to a panel of retired judges. Ohanesian found “substantial” discrepancies between the wording of the referendum presented to the state attorney general and the wording used in the collection of nearly 1 million voter signatures. She charged that the measure submitted to the state attorney general contained at least twelve discrepancies, making it illegal to put the referendum before California voters November 7.
This ruling comes amid charges from Democrats and public interest groups of a conflict of interest in some of Schwarzenegger’s recent business deals, reports the San Francisco Gate, and amid approval ratings at an all-time low, according to Reuters. The backers of Proposition 77 intend to appeal Judge Ohanesian’s decision today to the state Court of Appeal, the SF Gate reports.
Also on the ballot is a measure (Proposition 73) that would require parental notification for young women under 18 seeking abortions. The parental notification measure is widely viewed as a means to get out the vote among social conservatives to increase support for the redistricting proposal. The Feminist Majority Foundation, Planned Parenthood Affiliates of California, ACLU of Southern California, and NARAL Pro-Choice California are leading the opposition to Proposition 73 because it would endanger young women’s health and lives.