Nonpartisan group turns in signatures seeking to end gerrymandering in Michigan

Nonpartisan group turns in signatures seeking to end gerrymandering in Michigan. (Stephen Wozny Sinclair Broadcast Group)

A group pushing to change the way Michigan draws voting district lines submitted signatures on Monday to get a proposal to end gerrymandering on the 2018 ballot.

Voters Not Politicians submitted thousands of signatures to the Michigan Board of Canvassers to get their proposal to end gerrymandering on the statewide ballot in 2018. They say the current system of drawing political district lines is biased.

Political Reporter Nick Minock reported as the Voters Not Politicians group celebrated a big milestone.

On Monday, 200 volunteers celebrated the rewards of their heavy lifting in securing 425,000 signatures to end partisan gerrymandering in Michigan.

Katie Fahey began the Voters Not Politicians movement with a Facebook post.

Fahey said, "Right now the system could not be any more corrupt. Right now partisan gerrymandering happens. It's one party behind closed doors with lobbyists, locking themselves up, figuring out what the maps are and just passing them without public input. This completely flips it on its head."

The proposal would create an independent nonpartisan commission to draw congressional and legislative lines every 10 years. An approach Fahey says will result in fairer districts.

She said, "Where I live, over in Grand Rapids, the House district, I think it's the 75th and 76th, it's literally this genie lamp where one street you have three different representatives on one neighborhood block because you have three districts there. I think that's an example of is that a community is that really being represented or is something going on to guarantee and election for somebody else."

Republican Tim Kelly, R-Saginaw, says the current system is "fine."

He said, "Has it favored Republicans? Yes, it has. But it's about getting a majority and those in the majority are going to write the lines. Believe me if the Democrats had been in charge after 2010 then they would have written lines that were favorable to them."

For the organization Voters Not Politicians. The party is over and the really hard work begins.

Fahey said, “We have to get at least two million voters to vote yes after this."

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