Proposition 40 was a costly and ill-advised attempt by the Republican Party to throw out the state Senate districts drawn by the Citizens Redistricting Commission.
Now the maneuver could confuse voters in the Nov. 6 election.
The citizens commission's work was not perfect, but commissioners followed their voter-approved mandate by holding public hearings and by drawing districts that didn't favor incumbents. But Republicans, who supported creating the independent commission, didn't like how the Senate maps turned out. Disagreements will occur in such a process, but the system needs time to work before its work is challenged.
Unfortunately, the GOP immediately went after the Senate maps. After the state Supreme Court upheld the Senate Districts boundaries, GOP leaders abandoned their effort to block the maps with Prop. 40.
But party leaders acted too late, so this confusing proposition remains on the November ballot.
This is where it gets tricky, and potentially expensive for taxpayers. Because the measure is a referendum, a "yes" vote on Proposition 40 would leave the state Senate districts as they are drawn. A "no" vote would invalidate them.
Voters tend to vote "no" when they are confused by a proposition, and the fear is that could happen in the case of Prop. 40, reopening the Senate boundaries.
That would be wrong for several reasons. If Prop. 40 overturns the boundaries, the state Supreme Court would be required to convene a panel to create a new Senate redistricting plan.
It is unlikely that the new Senate plan would be much different from the current plan, but it would cost taxpayers about $1 million to get what they currently have.
Even the initial sponsors of Proposition 40 agree that going through this costly exercise would be a mistake.
They are urging a "yes" vote to retain the current Senate district maps.
A "yes" vote would save state and local governments an estimated $1 million in election costs. A "no" vote would waste $1 million.
The Bee's editorial board recommends a "yes" on Proposition 40.