As loyal Michiganders, we strive to be the best. We want the best economy. The best schools. The best future for our state and for our children. However, there are some things that we don’t want to be the best at (hint: gerrymandering is one of them). According to Bridge Magazine, Michigan is one of the best states in the nation at gerrymandering - and that isn’t something to be proud of.
Gerrymandering, or partisan redistricting, happens when politicians manipulate voting maps for their advantage. Rigging districts using advanced computer software allows politicians the ability to handpick their voters to give them the advantage to get re-elected in future elections. Gerrymandering leads to uncompetitive elections and politicians who pay more attention to their donors and lobbyists than their constituents.
The good news is that the voters of Michigan have the power, and the duty, to fix this problem. Voters Not Politicians is one step closer to the solution.
Instead of entrusting the drawing of our voting districts in Michigan to politicians who ultimately stand to benefit from their decisions, we propose an Independent Citizens Redistricting Commission of registered Michigan voters to draw voting districts using guidelines that ensure fairness to all. We believe that the voters of Michigan - not politicians - should be entrusted with this important and monumental task.
How did we get here?
Most ballot proposals are designed by the backers without public input. Voters Not Politicians did just the opposite, seeking out public opinion through:
- - More than 30 Town Hall meetings held across Michigan
- - Months of working closely with non-partisan groups representing millions of Michiganders
- - Extensive research of reforms that have been enacted in other states, including consulting with reform leaders in several of those states as well as national organizations advocating reform
- - Thousands of hours of donated legal research and drafting from some of the state’s top attorneys
Months of work went into drafting a proposal that would put an end to unfair elections where votes don’t matter and Michiganders’ voices aren’t heard. The proposal has been submitted to the Bureau of Elections for review. At this stage, Elections Bureau staff will review the petition to confirm whether it complies with all technical requirements under state law. The Elections Bureau staff will then make a recommendation to the Board of State Canvassers (BSC), who is the bipartisan state panel that approves petitions and decides what initiatives get on the statewide ballot. Once the BSC approves the petition, we will release the full language of the constitutional amendment and immediately begin collecting signatures.
While the BSC approval isn’t necessary, Voters Not Politicians values the approval from a bipartisan body to ensure that the proposal is fair and free from any technical error before collecting signatures.
The proposal outlines:
- How does the Independent Citizens Redistricting Commission draw the maps?
- How is the public involved in the process?
- How is the Independent Citizens Redistricting Commission’s independence and power protected and insulated from partisan bias or influence?
The proposal takes redistricting out of the backroom and ends the conflict of interest that festers when politicians have the power to choose their voters. The Independent Citizens Redistricting Commission will ensure voters choose their politicians, instead of the other way around, so that Michigan votes count and that Michiganders’ voices are heard.
Check out these other posts to learn more about the policy:
If you're ready to put an end to gerrymandering, here’s what you can do to show your support.
Sign the petition // Voters Not Politicians is in the process of collecting 315,654 valid signatures to get our policy on the November 2018 ballot. Click here to find an upcoming opportunity to sign the petition!
Donate // the politicians and special interests who benefit from the current system will spend millions defending and protecting their unfair advantage. We have to fight back, and that will include advertising and putting together hundreds of local events across Michigan to educate voters on their rights. Donate to Voters Not Politicians here.
Volunteer // help us spread the word and gather petition signatures! We are recruiting a field team of petition circulators that will help us spread the word and collect signatures this summer. If you are interested in being a part of this vital part of the process, please click here.
Stay educated // learn more about gerrymandering and how you can defeat it! Stay up to date on campaign updates and news by signing up for our newsletter here.