Commentary: Texas needs better options for redistricting

This editorial appeared in The Fort Worth Star-Telegram.

Lost in all the post-election consternation over California voters' approval of Proposition 8, which bans gay marriage, was their passage of Proposition 11, a redistricting milestone.

The measure appeared to have passed narrowly when vote counting was completed the first week of December. It sets up a bipartisan commission of 14 residents — five Democrats, five Republicans and four people not registered with either party — to draw districts for electing members of the state Legislature after the once-a-decade census.

This didn't include a provision for mapping congressional districts by an independent commission. But it's more evidence voters can be convinced that there's a better way to draw voting districts than leaving it to politicians whose self-interest conflicts directly with the best interests of the electorate.

Lawmakers, after all, want to protect their turf, or, at the very least, their jobs. The parties to which they belong want to protect their power, if they've got it.

The passage of Proposition 11 is encouraging because it suggests that voters elsewhere might be persuaded to accept what at least a majority of Californians did: Representative government sometimes can be enhanced only by reducing lawmakers' influence.

To read the complete editorial, visit The Fort Worth Star-Telegram.