In the News

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Although still in its infancy, the USC Schwarzenegger Institute has already generated extensive media coverage in connection with its mission and activities.

Who will replace Kamala Harris in the Senate? It’s up to Gavin Newsom

It didn’t take long when Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden selected Kamala Harris as his running mate in August for people to begin wondering who Gov. Gavin Newsom might appoint as her replacement in the U.S. Senate. Now after months of speculation — and plenty of public and private lobbying — Newsom has a decision to make about who will be California’s next junior senator. Biden wrapped up the votes he needed Saturday to win the presidency, and barring a legal challenge from President Trump that would somehow derail the results, Harris will resign her seat so she can become vice president Jan. 20. San Francisco Chronicle

Wealthy Donors Spend Big to Expand Voting Access

Poll worker training doesn’t usually involve a call to do 200 push-ups. It also doesn’t usually involve Arnold Schwarzenegger. “Let’s pump it up!” the actor, businessman, former professional bodybuilder and former Republican California governor told a crowd of 16 surprised trainees in Muscogee County, Georgia, over Zoom earlier this month. “Let’s pump it up,” the trainees sitting in a church gymnasium dutifully repeated through their masks. Pew Trusts 

Schwarzenegger Institute provides voting grants to Georgia counties

Movie star and former California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger have given a blockbuster amount of his own money to help improve voter access this election cycle. In late September the Schwarzenegger Institute at the University of Southern California announced the launch of "Democracy Grants for Voting Access and Election Administration." The fast grant program allowed local governments and other organizations to apply for funding to reopen closed polling places, hire poll workers and provide PPE. Fox 5 Atlanta

Arnold Schwarzenegger pitches in $250K to help Texans vote safely during COVID

Tens of thousands of Texas voters in one of the regions hardest-hit by COVID-19 will safely be able to cast ballots, thanks to an unlikely source: The Terminator. Arnold Schwarzenegger, the actor and last Republican governor of California, is sending $250,000 through a foundation he runs to Cameron County on the Texas border to help that area open up supercenter polling sites that will assure people have enough social distancing to safely vote in the fall elections. Houston Chronicle

Redistricting Commission Doesn’t Need Reforms…Well, Maybe One

When the first eight commissioners to the California Citizens Redistricting Commission were chosen by random drawing the beginning of the month, there was an outcry that no Latinos were selected. Because Latinos make up the largest ethnic group in California, the Los Angeles Times editorial board called the result an embarrassment. Others joined in to say the selection process must be fixed. A fix is not needed to ensure diversity on the commission. There is a built-in mechanism to deal with oversights in the initial selection of commissioners. Fox&Hounds

Californians back BLM + Latinos ‘struck’ from redistricting spots + Dems weigh in on initiatives

WHO STRUCK LATINOS FROM REDISTRICTING CANDIDATE POOL? California’s independent redistricting commission — created by 2008 and 2010 ballot propositions with the goal of addressing gerrymandering — drew widespread criticism earlier this month when the randomized selection process did not choose a single Latino applicant despite Latinos comprising 40% of California’s population. The Sacramento Bee

California needs $28 billion in taxes by the end of July

RESEARCHERS: REVAMP CALIFORNIA REDISTRICTING PANEL SELECTION RULES  On Tuesday, the eight men and women selected to draw new political maps as members of the California Citizens Redistricting Commission will meet for the first time. They have a little less than a month to fill the final six seats on the panel, a job that will be closely watched after the initial selection process failed to produce a single Latino commissioner — in a state where Latinos compose about 40% of the population. Los Angeles Times

Report on California Citizens Redistricting Commission Selection Process Raises New Questions

A report released today by the University of Southern California (USC), the University of Minnesota and the University of Houston researchers makes the provocative recommendation that the California State Legislature should no longer have the power to strike finalists from the pool of applicants for California’s Citizens Redistricting Commission. The report was issued in the wake of a series of controversial strikes in the selection of the new slate of commissioners. Election Law Blog

USC Study Recommends Changes in Selection of Redistricting Commissioners

California legislators’ ability to strike finalists for the commission that draws district lines for state and federal elections has led to fewer Latino applicants being chosen, according to a study released Monday by researchers from USC, the University of Houston and the University of Minnesota. The researchers, including Christian R. Grose, academic director of the USC Schwarzenneger Institute for State and Global Policy, examined racial and ethnic diversity in the process of choosing commission members. MyNewsLA.com