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Redistricting proposal placed on November ballot

Rick Pluta

A state elections board has complied with a court order to place a question on the November ballot.  It would change how congressional and legislative district boundaries are drawn.

A jubilant crowd broke out in cheers as the Board of State Canvassers voted to put the Voters Not Politicians question on the November ballot. Voters Not Politicians leader Katie Fahey says the group has already started voter outreach efforts.

“We are eager and excited to go fixing our state,” she said. “…We look forward to being in the November 6, 2018, ballot.”

The Voters Not Politicians proposal would give the job of drawing district lines to an independent commission instead of the Legislature.

The question’s progress to the ballot was stalled by a legal challenge that was rejected by the Michigan Court of Appeals. The Michigan Supreme Court is still deciding whether to hear the case, but turned down a request to block the board from placing the question before voters.

Fahey says the campaign has already started its voter outreach.

“Right now, our job is to make that the people of the state of Michigan know what this is about,” she said. “We’ve already knocked 40 thousand doors for door-to-door canvassing, but this is a really critical reform that will effect elections from now until Michigan stops doing elections.”

Republicans controlled the Legislature and the governor’s office during the last two rounds of redistricting, which takes place every 10 years to adjust districts to account for changes logged by the U.S. Census.

“It’s an effort by liberal Democrats to stack the deck in their favor,” said Tony Daunt of the conservative Michigan Freedom Fund, which opposes the measure, “And, despite the rhetoric they so happily spout, it really is just an effort to put more Democrats in control because they can’t put forward candidates and ideas that can win in Michigan.”

The Voters Not Politicians campaign says it is non-partisan and only seeks to take party control out of the process of drawing political district lines.

Rick Pluta is Senior Capitol Correspondent for the Michigan Public Radio Network. He has been covering Michigan’s Capitol, government, and politics since 1987.
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