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gerrymandering

Voters Not Politicians

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. 

Voters Not Politicians

The Board of State Canvassers has until September 7th to finalize ballot language for an anti-gerrymandering ballot proposal -- but on Tuesday, the group Voters Not Politicians filed a lawsuit demanding they approve language sooner.

woman signing petition
Courtesy of Voters Not Politicians

The legal challenges are over for an anti-gerrymandering ballot proposal. In a 4 to 3 vote, the Michigan Supreme Court ruled that the question is cleared to appear on November’s ballot.

Michigan's 14th congressional district
Public Domain

A proposal that seeks to end gerrymandering in the state will be on the ballot this November.

The Board of State Canvassers voted to add the question from the group Voters Not Politicians on June 20.

michigan hall of justice building
Wikimedia Commons

An initiative to change how Michigan draws its political boundaries is headed for the November ballot.

In a 4-3 ruling late Tuesday night, the Michigan Supreme Court rejected a lawsuit challenging a redistricting ballot proposal.

michigan state capitol
Lester Graham / Michigan Radio

 


Emails have emerged in a federal lawsuit which suggest Michigan Republicans gerrymandered congressional districts despite years of claims the lines were drawn without political bias.

Journalists Joel Kurth and Lindsay VanHulle broke the story for Bridge Magazine. 

One email from a GOP staffer, according to the article, bragged about cramming “Dem garbage” into four southeast Michigan Congressional districts. In another, a longtime Michigan Chamber of Commerce executive predicts the maps will keep Republicans in power for years.

Michigan Supreme Court
Michigan Supreme Court

 

The Voters Not Politicians proposal is on the ballot this fall. It would establish an independent commission to draw the legislative and congressional district boundaries instead of allowing the party in power to draw them. If it passes, it would put an end to gerrymandering.

The party in power, the Republicans, want it off the ballot. 

Sarah Cwiek / Michigan Radio

Some supporters of an anti-gerrymandering ballot proposal are targeting the Michigan Chamber of Commerce, and particularly board chairman Mark Davidoff, over the Chamber’s support for a lawsuit that aims to get the proposal removed from the November ballot.

Vote Here sign
Jodi Westrick / Michigan Radio

The Michigan Supreme Court will hear oral arguments for a lawsuit about a ballot proposal to change how Michigan draws political districts.

Voters Not Politicians is the group behind the measure, which would put a 13-member commission in charge of redistricting, instead of the state Legislature. It says the proposal meets all the requirements of a voter-initiated constitutional amendment. But a group opposed to the measure, Citizens Protecting Michigan’s Constitution, disagrees. It says the proposal goes beyond what’s allowed for this type of ballot proposal.

Michigan's 14th congressional district
Public Domain

Michigan really does has a gerrymandering problem, according to a non-partisan group’s report.

A group trying to get a redistricting measure on the November ballot says arguments against the measure by the state Attorney General are redundant.

Schuette submitted a brief to the Michigan Supreme Court – it’s currently deciding if it will look at a court case filed by a group that wants to keep the proposal off the ballot. This comes after a 3-0 decision by the Michigan Court of Appeals that ordered the state’s election committee to send the proposal to the ballot.

Rick Pluta / MPRN

A state elections board has complied with a court order to place a question on the November ballot.  It would change how congressional and legislative district boundaries are drawn.

A jubilant crowd broke out in cheers as the Board of State Canvassers voted to put the Voters Not Politicians question on the November ballot. Voters Not Politicians leader Katie Fahey says the group has already started voter outreach efforts.

“We are eager and excited to go fixing our state,” she said. “…We look forward to being in the November 6, 2018, ballot.”

The proposal to change how Michigan draws the lines for congressional and legislative districts is about to go on the ballot. But, will it stay there?

The question to create an independent commission to handle the job of redistricting is poised to become Proposal 2 on the November ballot. The group that gives the OK to what questions make it on the ballot meets Wednesday.

Update, June 13 at 10:30 a.m.:

The group Citizens Protecting Michigan’s Constitution has filed an appeal with the state Supreme Court and asked the justices to put an immediate hold on the lower court decision that would place the question on the November ballot.

Judge's gavel with books on a desk
Pixabay.com

A proposal to change the way the state draws its political district lines must go on the November ballot. The Michigan Court of Appeals denied a request to keep a measure by the group Voters Not Politicians off the ballot.

The opposition group, Citizens Protecting Michigan’s Constitution, said the redistricting proposal was essentially a redrafting of the state Constitution. 

Michael Dorausch / Flickr, http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

A campaign to amend the Michigan Constitution is asking a judge to order a state board to certify its question for the November ballot.

The amendment would create an independent commission to handle drawing legislative and congressional district lines. The campaign says that would take partisan politics out of the re-districting process.

Republicans don’t like the proposal. And this week, the Republican chair of the Board of State Canvassers abruptly canceled a meeting to certify the campaign had gathered enough petition signatures to qualify for the ballot.

Judge's gavel with books
Pixabay.com

A panel of three judges ruled on Wednesday a gerrymandering lawsuit raised by members of Michigan’s League of Women Voters and several other Democrats will proceed.

The suit was filed in December against the Secretary of State Ruth Johnson, who is the chief election officer of the state. It challenges the congressional and state legislative maps, which the plaintiffs say unfairly benefit Republicans.   

The Secretary of State's office moved to have the case dismissed, saying there were no grounds for a statewide case.

user eljoja / flickr http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

Michigan voters have some pretty strong feelings when it comes to recreational marijuana.

The need to trust government

Apr 30, 2018
Michigan's 14th congressional district
Public Domain

We could debate endlessly about what people want and expect from state government, but a few things are clear: First, we want a government we can trust and that will respond to what we want. And it is also very clear people are fed up with our current system of hyperpartisan gerrymandering, in which legislative and congressional districts are always drawn to ensure perpetual Republican control of the Legislature and a majority of seats in Congress.

Michigan State Capitol Building
Lester Graham / Michigan Radio

This week in Michigan politics, some Republican legislators led by Senator Mike Shirkey pushed to impose work requirements for Medicaid recipients. Republicans also campaigned hard against a ballot initiative that would fight political gerrymandering and seeks to establish an independent commission to draw district lines.

Michigan's 13th congressional district
WikiCommons

Voters Not Politicians is the group working to get a proposal on the ballot to end gerrymandering. They are proposing that an independent commission draw congressional and legislative districts to avoid gerrymandering districts in favor of one party or another.

Some Republicans say Voters Not Politicians is a front-group for the Democrats. In fact, it’s likely a Republican-backed group will challenge the ballot initiative in court in an attempt to kill it before voters get their say in the matter.

Michigan's 13th congressional district
Wikipedia

Just in case you were wondering, I’m not running for the vacant seat in Michigan’s 13th Congressional District. I’m not trying to start rumors. I’m not running for anything, and can’t imagine I ever would. I’m a journalist, not a politician.

PUBLIC DOMAIN

Gerrymandering, the drawing of a political district map to specifically give advantage to an incumbent, or to a political party, is an issue across the nation. It’s a way of watering down the will of the voters by drawing irregular lines on the map to pack the voters you don’t want into one district, while leaving another district easily won by your party.

In Michigan, that’s resulted in a disproportionate number of Republican legislators and members of Congress, compared to how the state votes.

Michigan's 14th congressional district
Public Domain

The Michigan League of Women voters is taking on the state. It says Michigan's legislative districts as currently drawn are unfair. It accuses the state and Republican controlled Legislature of drawing the district lines in secret back in 2011, then rushing the electoral map through the legislative process.

The lawsuit asks a court to declare the current electoral map unconstitutional. It also asks the court to require the state to redraw the lines fairly.

The fight against gerrymandering faces its next obstacle

Dec 19, 2017
Thetoad / Flickr - http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

Getting a state constitutional amendment on the ballot is a lot harder than it sounds, as many groups have found out over the years.

We could see the most dramatic change to Michigan politics since term limits. This afternoon, an all-volunteer group is one step closer to overhauling how redistricting is done in Michigan.

Nassar in court.
Kate Wells / Michigan Radio

The dean of Michigan State University's school of osteopathy, who supervised former sports Dr. Larry Nassar, is stepping down. Lawsuits filed against the university by alleged victims and their families say William Strampel and other MSU officials ignored warnings that Nassar was a predator. MSU says Strampel is resigning as dean for "medical reasons" and will remain on the faculty.

This Week in Review, Weekend Edition host Rebecca Kruth and senior news analyst Jack Lessenberry talk about whether we'll see more stories like this from MSU in the coming weeks and months.


Voters Not Politicians

A grassroots group of citizen activists opposed to partisan gerrymandering is making rapid progress toward its goal of getting a redistricting proposal on the ballot in Michigan in 2018.

An all-volunteer force, about 4,ooo strong and spread over 83 Michigan counties, has collected about 450,000 voter signatures in four months. That's according to Katie Fahey, president of the ballot committee called Voters Not Politicians.

"We have blown our goal out of the water," said Fahey.

The origin of the term "gerrymandering" comes from a political cartoon from March of 1812. This was drawn in reaction to the newly-drawn state senate election district of South Essex created by the Massachusetts legislature.
J. Albert Bowden II / Flickr - http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

If you’ve been to a fall festival or any kind of carnival in the state lately, chances are there was a booth there for Voters Not Politicians.

That group is gathering signatures to get a proposal on the ballot. It wants an independent commission to draw the congressional and legislative districts to avoid gerrymandering districts in favor of one party or the other.

John Auchter / Michigan Radio

I struggled with how exactly to draw a gerrymander statue. My initial instinct was to draw it as an abstract monster because that's where the term came from. In 1812 a Governor Gerry in Massachusetts signed a bill to redistrict his state to benefit his political party. 

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