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State board to rule on gerrymandering ballot proposal this week

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A grassroots group that wants to get an anti-gerrymandering proposal on the 2018 ballot is looking to make progress this week.

Voters Not Politicians is the non-partisan group in charge of the effort. It wants to change how the state draws its district lines.

The Board of State Canvassers will meet Thursday to approve or reject the form of the petition. It will look at things like font size and which portions of the constitution are referenced. This is meant to prevent lawsuits for improper format down the road.

The group is confident the board will approve the format of the petition.

“The Board of Canvassers tends to really listen to the staff because they’re the ones we’ve been working with,” said President of Voters Not Politicians, Katie Fahey. “So we’re hoping that as soon as that meeting’s done we’d actually start gathering signatures. Which would be very cool.”

Fahey said members of the organization plan to bring signature sheets with them to the meeting. That way they can start gathering signatures right away if it’s approved.

“We only have 180 days to collect 315, 654 signatures,” she said. “So we have to use every day really wisely.”

Once the group collects all the signatures, the Board will meet again to approve the signatures. If the campaign has the required amount, the proposal can go on the ballot.  

Before becoming the newest Capitol reporter for the Michigan Public Radio Network, Cheyna Roth was an attorney. She spent her days fighting it out in court as an assistant prosecuting attorney for Ionia County. Eventually, Cheyna took her investigative and interview skills and moved on to journalism. She got her masters at Michigan State University and was a documentary filmmaker, podcaster, and freelance writer before finding her home with NPR. Very soon after joining MPRN, Cheyna started covering the 2016 presidential election, chasing after Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton, and all their surrogates as they duked it out for Michigan. Cheyna also focuses on the Legislature and criminal justice issues for MPRN. Cheyna is obsessively curious, a passionate storyteller, and an occasional backpacker. Follow her on Twitter at @Cheyna_R
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