Michigan gerrymandering petition OK'd


Voters Not Politicians, a group behind an effort to change the state constitution to end political gerrymandering in Michigan, has been granted approval to petition for a 2018 ballot proposal.

The state's Board of Canvassers unanimously granted approval Thursday. According to a post on the group's Facebook page, the group plans to begin collecting signatures immediately, with a signature collecting event event currently scheduled for 5:30 p.m. at Motor City Brewing Works in Detroit.

The proposal — which officials have described as one of the most complex ever submitted — would change Michigan's state constitution, establishing a 13-member citizens commission made up of five independent voters and four each from the two major parties.

Currently, the drawing of Michigan's electoral districts is overseen by the Republican-controlled state Legislature. In 2014 and 2016 elections, Michigan Democrats in state house races received nearly the same or more total votes than Republicans, yet Republicans managed to hold a majority.

"We are working to end partisan control by either party," says Kirk Haverkamp
of Voters Not Politicians. "Gerrymandering disenfranchises voters of both parties, as well as independents, by locking them into districts where their votes don't matter. It also results in the election of more extreme candidates, because elections in gerrymandered 'safe' districts tend to be determined in the primaries, which are dominated by party loyalists."

The group will have to collect nearly 316,000 valid signatures to get the proposal on the November 2018 ballot. More information is available at votersnotpoliticians.com/findthepetition.

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