Both sides react after anti-gerrymandering question cleared for November ballot | Michigan Radio
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Both sides react after anti-gerrymandering question cleared for November ballot

Aug 1, 2018

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.

That means Michigan voters will have a chance to decide on an important procedural question: how the state’s legislative districts are drawn every 10 years.

The grassroots group, Voters Not Politicians, collected nearly 400,000 signatures to get the redistricting question on the November ballot.
Credit Courtesy of Voters Not Politicians

The proposal would create an independent commission of citizens to draw legislative districts. Right now, whichever party is in power at the time of a new census is responsible for redistricting.

According to Voters Not Politicians executive director, Katie Fahey, the philosophy behind the proposal comes down to a simple question:

“Do you think voters should choose their politicians, or do you think politicians should choose their voters?”

The latter option, she said, has led to politically gerrymandered districts that are drawn in favor of the party in power.

Opponents of the ballot question, including the Michigan Chamber of Commerce, have argued that a change to this process would require a constitutional convention, something that is beyond the reach of a ballot question.

“The question that was before the Michigan Supreme Court was not whether the redistricting ballot proposal was a good idea or a bad idea,” said Chamber of Commerce CEO Rich Studley. “The question before the court was: does this proposal meet the clear requirements in state law and in the constitution to appear on the ballot in November?”

Both the Michigan Court of Appeals and the Michigan Supreme Court ruled that the ballot question does meet those requirements.

Now, Fahey said, her group can look ahead and “focus on November 6th and reaching those voters to vote yes.”

Studley, for his part, wouldn’t reveal the chamber’s plans moving forward. “We’re in the process now of listening to our members,” he said.

For more information on the ballot proposal and gerrymandering in Michigan, click here.

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