Gerrymandering Question Becoming Central to 2018 Election in Michigan

State of Michigan

Over the past few years you’ve likely become acquainted with the word “gerrymandering”. That’s because several states, including Michigan, are struggling with a broken system that divides up congressional and legislative districts.

A ballot initiative to curb gerrymandering in Michigan has gained a lot of momentum over the past few months. Voters Not Politicians has been collecting signatures to get a question on the ballot over how to prevent gerrymandering in Michigan. The ballot measure would create a bipartisan commission that would oversee redistricting every ten years.

Currently, the party in control draws and approves the map for district lines, which is a problem that can feed on itself.

In Michigan, Republicans are in control of the Legislature, and have been for some time. That’s partly because Republicans have gotten to redraw a map that favors Republicans for more than 20 years.  

How people in Michigan vote doesn’t line up with the [number of] seats in Congress,” says Katie Fahey, president and treasurer of Voters Not Politicians. 

You have about 50% of the population voting for Republicans, and about 50% of the population voting for Democrats” but that isn’t reflected in our congressional seats, says Fahey.

Michigan has nine Republicans in Congress and five Democrats. Fahey says that disparity is a problem. 

It’s about how these lines are drawn… which leads to one party having a majority.”

The Michigan GOP is opposed to the ballot measure from Voters Not Politicians, siting Democratic Party affiliation among the initiative’s leadership. Representatives for the GOP say the ballot initiative is a political ploy by Democrats.

Fahey says Voters Not Politicians is non-partisan and has volunteers of all political stripes. 

To hear the full conversation about gerrymandering on Detroit Today — including a conversation about a possible solution to gerrymandering, and a look at the Wisconsin gerrymandering case before the U.S. Supreme Court — click on the audio player above.

 

Image credit: State of Michigan

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