I just talked to some friends who were confused about California Propositions 20 & 27. I will explain as simply as I can:
November 01, 2010
Gerrymandering (not to be confused with jerrybrowning) is when politicians draw their own districts to keep them safe, often in grotesque ungodly shapes (literally around neighborhoods & houses where voters are unsympathetic. And you better believe it's racial too.) Safe districts = uncompetitive elections, more extreme candidates, more polarized politics, et cetera, et cetera, et cetera.
A previous ballot initiative created an independent commission to draw the lines (after the census) for some districting, & Prop 20 will extend the powers of that commission to state congressional districts! Prop 27 is the politicians fighting back, and will kill that commission before it's even created. Yes on 20! No on 27!
Here are some pictures of perverted pornographic REAL districts to inspire you:
I'd like to point out that the Chicago district above is a single blob, with a narrow sliver on the left.