Backers of Bold Initiative to Create California Legislature With 12,000 Representatives Submit Signatures for 2018 Ballot

If approved by voters, the new system would take effect in 2021 when the California Citizens Redistricting Commission draws new political boundaries for legislative and congressional districts. (Credit: Robert Durell/Los Angeles Times)

If approved by voters, the new system would take effect in 2021 when the California Citizens Redistricting Commission draws new political boundaries for legislative and congressional districts. (Credit: Robert Durell/Los Angeles Times)

Supporters of an effort to create a California Legislature with up to 12,000 representatives of individual neighborhoods submitted voter signatures on Friday for their dramatic proposal to reshape the state’s version of representative democracy.

The plan, which would appear on next November’s statewide ballot, would create new community political districts of between 5,000 and 10,000 Californians. Those microdistricts would choose representatives who, in turn, would meet to select the 120 members of the California Legislature who write laws in Sacramento. Because the small districts would be of a fixed size, the number of legislators will vary depending on the state’s population.

The “neighborhood Legislature” plan was submitted by John Cox, a Rancho Santa Fe Republican who is a candidate for governor. Cox bankrolled the signature drive, and state elections officials report the campaign has turned in 627,633 voter signatures for verification. A spokesperson says that more signatures will be turned in soon, with the total that were gathered closer to 800,000.

Local elections officials have until Dec. 20 to conduct an initial sample of those signatures. Cox needs 585,407 valid signatures for his proposal to earn a spot on next fall’s statewide ballot.

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