In 2018, Michiganders voted to pass Proposal 2, a redistricting amendment that would create an independent commission to draw legislative and congressional district maps. Voters Not Politicians, the nonprofit organization that collected signatures to get the amendment on the ballot, is now taking steps to form that commission.
Prior to Prop 2, whichever party was in control in Lansing was responsible for drawing district maps.
The passage of Prop 2 calls for the creation of an independent commission made up registered Michigan voters. The commission will consist of 13 members: four self-identified Democrats, four Republicans, and five independents.
In a press conference, Voters Not Politicians announced that applications to be on this commission would be made available in November of this year, ahead of the 2020 Census.
Nancy Wang is the executive director of Voters Not Politicians. She says forming the commission and implementing Prop 2 is the top priority for the group.
“This commission is going to be citizen-led, it's going to be registered voters all throughout the state of Michigan. Our focus is to really get the word out to make sure people know that this new redistricting process is going to be fair, impartial, and citizen-led,” she says.
She says in order to create a demographically and geographically diverse commission, it’s crucial for Michiganders from all parts of the state to consider applying, regardless of background.
“What we really need are people who are committed to fairness, committed to listening to people of the state of Michigan to see where the boundaries of their communities are, and we encourage everyone to apply,” she says. “We want a commission that looks like Michigan and really listens to all the people and all the constituencies; accessibility and inclusiveness, those are our priorities.”
She says Voters Not Politicians will have application workshops and support for those interested in applying. According to Wang, more than 1,500 people have expressed interest in applying so far.
In addition to Prop 2, Voters Not Politicians has also been working with clerks around Michigan to help enforce Proposal 3, another measure that passed in 2018. This measure allows for same-day voter registration, absentee ballots for any reason, and automatic voter registration when applying for or renewing a state driver’s license. Wang also announced that Voters Not Politicians will be releasing the Michigan Democracy Report Card on its website.
“[This] will track legislative votes on good government issues,” Jamie Lyons-Eddy, director of campaigns and programs for Voters Not Politicians says. “Now citizens can know where their elected officials stand on important aspects of government reform.”
Voters Not Politicians is considering plans for another ballot measure in 2020, also to be focused on “strengthening democracy.” The group is hoping to pivot to a focus on “ethics and transparency,” and lessening the influence of money in politics. Some potential ballot initiatives include term limits and financial disclosure.