Connecting state and local government leaders

Michigan Voters OK Proposal to Overhaul State’s Redistricting Process

The Michigan State Capitol in Lansing

The Michigan State Capitol in Lansing Shutterstock

 

Connecting state and local government leaders

Previous GOP-led district-drawing efforts gave Republicans an advantage in congressional and state legislative races.

Voters in Michigan approved a ballot proposal that will shift the responsibility of congressional and state legislative redistricting away from political leaders and toward an independent commission.

The new process, as outlined in Michigan’s Proposal 2, aims to prevent gerrymandering, a tactic where districts are drawn to favor one political party by packing in like-minded voters.

As of 12 midnight EST Wednesday with 55 percent of precincts reporting, Proposal 2 passed with more than 61 percent of the vote, according to the Associated Press.

Michigan is regarded as one the most gerrymandered states in the U.S.

As Bridge magazine wrote last year, in 2016, “Michigan Democrats won more overall votes for state House than Republicans. It was by a whisper, about half of one percentage point.

But Democrats got walloped in the race that counts, as the GOP swept 63 of 110 seats.”

The Michigan Independent Redistricting Commission would have 13 members—four representing Democrats, four representing Republicans and five who are unaffiliated.

“Voters Not Politicians and our thousands of volunteers will be monitoring the implementation process and assisting Michigan officials in bringing the independent citizens commission to fruition in accordance with the will of voters,” Voters Not Politicians board president Nancy Wang said in a statement. “This may be the end of the election process, but it is only the beginning of a new, more transparent redistricting process for our state for decades to come.”

Michael Grass is Executive Editor of Government Executive’s Route Fifty and is based in Seattle.

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