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Politics & Government

New committee opposing ballot initiative on gerrymandering hints at partisan fight ahead

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.

Republicans, the party in power, have been responsible for drawing those maps. They say Voters Not Politicians is a Democratic front group, according to an article from Gongwer News Service.

Robert LaBrant, a political strategist who’s been an advisor to many Republican office holders, is among those opposed to the Voters Not Politicians proposal.

“I don’t think there’s anything wrong with having an independent redistricting commission,” LaBrant said. “My concerns probably focus on two areas: One, the very convoluted way that an independent redistricting commission gets created, and then the criteria for drawing those districts.”

He pointed to one problem in particular, the way the commission is to be chosen under the proposal.

“It’s so limited to people who have really no experience either in government or with political parties,” LaBrant said, “and some would see that to be a virtue. Well, I think all we have to do is take a look at term limits in Michigan to see that inexperience is not necessarily a virtue.”

Listen above for the full conversation. You’ll learn about a new group called People to Protect Voter’s Rights. That group says instead of ending gerrymandering, the Voters Not Politicians proposal is actually “a license to gerrymander.”

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