Group to begin collecting signatures to end gerrymandering in Michigan

Posted at 12:05 PM, Aug 18, 2017
and last updated 2017-08-18 12:05:55-04

The Michigan Board of Canvassers unanimously approved a group's plan to petition for signatures to end gerrymandering in the state.

According to a post on the Voters - Not Politicians Facebook page, they will immediately begin collecting signatures to petition for a ballot proposal in the 2018 election.

The group plans to begin collecting signatures immediately, and say they will be at Motor City Brewing Works in Midtown beginning at 5:30 p.m. Friday.

To get on the November ballot, they would need nearly 316,000 signatures, equal to about 10 percent of the number of voters in Michigan's last gubernatorial election.

Currently, the state legislators re-draw political district lines every 10 years after the U.S. Census, the next of which will come in 2020. The majority party controls the gerrymandering process, which in recent years has been the Republican party.

An analysis from Bridge Magazine found that gerrymandering in Michigan is among the worst in the United States.

Take a look at the Congressional maps for Michigan below, re-drawn in 2010 for 2011.

Michigan's 14 congressional districts

Michigan's 110 state house districts

Michigan's 38 state senate districts

Voters Not Politicians' proposal would amend multiple parts of Michigan's constitution, including Article IV, sections 1-6, Article 5, sections 1, 2 and 4 and Article VI, sections 1 and 4.

The group wants to instead create a commission of 13 people that will adopt a redistricting plan for state senate districts, state house districts and U.S. congressional districts.

To be one of the 13 commissioners, the group says you have to meet certain requirements, including being an eligible voter in the state of Michigan, as well as not currently be or in the past six years have been: candidate for partisan federal, state or local office, elected official to partisan federal, state or local office, an officer or member of the governing body of a political party, a paid consultant or employee of an election official, an employee of the legislature, a registered lobbyist or an unclassified state employee.

Those commissioners would include four who identify as Democrats, four as Republicans and the other five will not be affiliated with a party.

They would be selected by the Michigan Secretary of State from a random pool of applicants, who also have to meet certain criteria.

When it comes to redistricting, the districts will have to be of equal population, geographically contiguous, "reflect the state's diverse population and communities of interest," as well as other requirements.

When the commission decides to adopt a plan, they will have to test it, and before voting, they have to notify the public of the plan and give at least 45 days for public comment. Each plan will then be voted on, and the final decision will require a majority vote of the commission that includes at least two commissioners who are affiliated with each party.

To read more about their proposed constitutional amendment, click here