Some activist groups in Michigan are gearing up for a possible ballot initiative to change the way legislative districts are drawn in the state.
The move comes following a recent ruling on the issue by the U.S. Supreme Court.
In a case involving Arizona, the High Court ruled that states could take the authority to set congressional district maps out of the hands of a legislature and place it under the control of an independent commission.
Redistricting – the once-a-decade process where a given legislature sets new boundaries — has always been a political maneuver.
The political party in power typically creates district lines that allow them to concentrate their voters in a particular area and often eliminate districts that catered to their legislative opponents.
Now the League of Women Voters and the group Common Cause say it may be time for Michigan to adopt the approach used in roughly two dozen other states where ostensibly independent commissions, rather than politicians, are at least partly in charge of redistricting. The groups say they may propose a ballot initiative to enact the change.
Some supporters of Michigan’s current redistricting process say it is not purely political, but reflects both changes in the state’s population and the need to keep districts with a majority of minority residents intact as required under the federal Voting Rights Act.