Proposal to end gerrymandering heads to ballot

LANSING, Mich. (WOOD) — Michigan voters will decide in November whether to change the way state Senate and state and U.S. House of Representatives districts are set.

The ballot proposal to legalize recreational marijuana in Michigan has gotten more attention, but the fight over legislative redistricting has been raging mostly under the radar for the last year — even though it will have a far greater and longer lasting impact.

The initiative got its unlikely start when recent Aquinas College graduate Katie Fahey, living in Caledonia, posted on Facebook last summer asking people if they wanted to talk about ending gerrymandering in Michigan.

Gerrymandering is the practice in which the political party that redraws districts after each census does so in such a way that it will benefit. For the last two decades in Michigan, that has been the Republican Party.

“I never thought I’d accidentally start a political movement,” Fahey said.

She is now the head of the group Voters Not Politicians, which has some 5,000 active volunteers and has allied with groups like Common Cause and the League of Women Voters. The volunteers gathered 394,000 signatures to get a measure on the ballot creating an independent redistricting commission.

Those signatures were accepted Wednesday by the State Board of Canvassers, sending the proposal to the November election.



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