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Common Cause pushes for Massachusetts redistricting commission

AP reports: Activists say they have collected enough signatures to put a nonbinding referendum question on the ballot in 15 [Massachusetts] state representative districts asking voters if they support turning the authority to draw new district lines over to an independent commission.

The move is the first step in a strategy to deny lawmakers in the House and Senate the authority to draw new district maps every 10 years after the federal census.

Advocates from the government watchdog group Common Cause eventually hope to change the state constitution by pushing for an amendment establishing a special redistricting commission. That question wouldn't reach voters until at least 2008.

The goal is to take the politics out of the task of redistricting by putting it in the hands of a commission, according to Pam Wilmot, executive director of Common Cause of Massachusetts. Legislative leaders would likely oppose the proposal. -- Activists push to deny lawmakers power to redraw district lines (AP via Worcester Telegram & Gazette Online)