Big changes could be on the horizon for the way Michigan draws its congressional and legislative lines.
There’s a ballot proposal likely to go in front of Michigan voters in November that would create an independent commission that draws those those lines — taking those duties away from state lawmakers.
One of the reasons the group Voters Not Politicians is proposing the change to the state’s constitution is because organizers say people feel powerless in the process of drawing these lines.
As part of a new weekly series called MichMash, Jake Neher and Cheyna Roth talk about what kind of power you have in influencing the way our legislative and congressional maps look.
Click on the audio player above to hear that conversation.
Neher and Roth look at two possible scenarios moving forward — one where the redistricting process changes and one where the process stays the same — and tells you how you can get involved in either scenario.
How can I influence the process if it changes?
Katie Fahey with Voters Not Politicians explains this week on WDET how the public can get involved in the process if the group wins in November.
“A very key part of this policy is open meetings,” she says. “The commission will travel across the state asking people, ‘How do you think these lines should be drawn?”
“Anything that they do, down to the computer algorythms used to draw those maps will all be made public. And people can comment and give feedback to the commission based on that.”
OK… but what happens if things stay the same? Am I powerless?
Nope. There are a couple of ways you can get have your voice heard if we keep the status quo.
“Number one — vote!” says Neher.
“Your vote is the most powerful right now when it comes to redistricting regardless of what happens with the ballot proposal,” he continues. “These next two elections in Michigan, they are going to determine most of the people in the Legislature that will be drawing these lines.
Neher says you can ask legislative candidates questions about how they think the lines should be drawn and what to them is the fairest way to draw a district and consider that when casting your ballot.
Here’s other WDET work on the gerrymandering issue:
Talk Show Programming
WATCH HERE: A live one-hour show with an in-studio audience and guests at 8 p.m., Tuesday, June 26. Tune in at 101.9 FM or online at WDET.org. Or join on WDET’s Facebook page where we’ll live stream the show. The show rebroadcasts at 2 p.m. Tuesday, July 3. Listen HERE for WDET 101.9 FM live online.
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