Gerrymandering issue to be on ballot

LANSING — Michigan voters will decide whether to reform the way voting districts in the state are drawn at the ballot box on Nov. 6.

A Voters Not Politicians ballot proposal to end political gerrymandering was approved by the Board of State Canvassers today.

According to a VNP press release, the board was following an order issued by the Michigan Court of Appeals.

A three-judge panel of the Appeals Court ruled unanimously on June 7 that a lawsuit filed by Citizens Protecting Michigan’s Constitution was “without merit.” CPMC was asking the court to order the Secretary of State that the Board of State Canvassers to reject VNP’s petition to add the proposal to the ballot.

The CPMC is appealing the decision to the Michigan Supreme Court, the press release states.

VNP founder and Executive Director Katie Fahey said she is confident the measure will come before voters in November.

“We fully expect the Supreme Court will concur with the Court of Appeals that the pro-gerrymandering campaign to keep the Voters Not Politicians proposal off the ballot is without merit,” said Fahey. “We look forward to being on the ballot in November, and giving voters a chance to change our current system, where politicians and lobbyists operate behind closed doors to draw district lines for partisan gain. Our polling and our volunteer signature collection and canvassing results show Michigan voters support our plan for a transparent, non-partisan, Independent Citizens Redistricting Commission.”

Congressional voting districts are currently drawn by the political party in power in the state legislature following every census.

Under the ballot proposal a 13 member Independent Redistricting Commission made up of 4 Democrats, 4 Republicans and 5 voters who affiliate with neither of the two major parties will have control of the redistricting process.

If the proposal receives a simple majority “yes” vote in the Nov. 6 election, the state constitution could be amended to adopt the Citizens Redistricting Commission.