A group promoting a ballot initiative to redraw Michigan's voting districts got an unexpected boost with a $250,000 contribute from a national group. The funds came from the National Redistricting Action Fund, an affiliate of the National Democratic Redistricting Committee, which is headed by former U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder.
The group shares some goals with Voters Not Politicians, the group leading the redistricting campaign. Mainly, they are opposed to gerrymandering, a difficult-to-define process in which political district boundaries are redrawn to minimize the number of representatives from one party or the other.
Both major parties have been accused of gerrymandering their districts at one time or another. Voters Not Politicians wants to put an end to it in Michigan by putting an independent citizens commission in charge of drawing district lines. Those lines are currently drawn by politicians every ten years when the national census is complete.
Katie Fahey is with Voters Not Politicians. She says the large contribution was unexpected.
"That will help us continue to get the word out about our initiative," she says. "It doesn't change who the campaign is run by. And over a million dollars has come directly from the people of Michigan."
Patrick Rodenbush is a spokesperson for the NDRC. He says his group has been following Voters Not Politicians for a while.
"It's a incredible grass roots led movement, they collected four hundred thousand signatures to get on the ballot," says Rodenbush. "It's really a testament to what's possible when people come together to take power back from the government."
Fahey says that although this large donation came from a Democratic group, their principles are intended to make the system fair for everyone, and they have had bipartisan support. Now that a Democratic group has made a major donation, Fahey says Voters Not Politicians will reach out to a Republican group with a similar mission to see if they would also like to support the campaign.