Tuesday, December 19, 2017

MI Independent Redistricting Ballot Petition Submits Signatures

The group behind an effort to start an Independent Redistricting Commission in Michigan says it has turned in the Signatures required to get the issue on the Ballot. More than 100 Volunteers and Organizers for Voters Not Politicians gathered outside Michigan's Bureau of Elections building Monday afternoon, standing in the rain and passing off box after box of Petition Sheets in a line from the road to the door.

Katie Fahey, the Group's President, said they were turning in more than 425,000 Signatures. Voters Not Politicians needs 315,654 Signatures verified by the Board of State Canvassers to qualify for the November 2018 Ballot. Fahey thanked the gathered crowd for their efforts in Signature Collection, which began in August and has been an All-Volunteer effort. She said they'd keep the fight going to make sure the Petition is Voted through, and expressed confidence the Group would be able to do so. "We're ready to do it. We're going to do it," She said.

The Petition would shift the Redistricting decision-making process, currently in the hands of the State Legislature, to a 13-Member Commission, which would consist of Five Independent Members, Four Self-declared Democrats and Four Self-declared Republicans.

Elected Officials, Candidates, Lobbyists, Political Consultants, Staffers, Family Members of Politicians, or other Insiders, would be barred from participating within Six years of their Politically-affiliated Position.

Republicans and Conservative Groups have criticized the Petition effort as a Partisan movement for Democrats, pointing to past Political activity of Members of the Group's Board and questioning their motives. "Voters not Politicians wants to take the redistricting process out of the hands of our elected Representatives and hand it to a panel of bureaucrats who will in no way be accountable to Michigan voters," Michigan Republican Party Chairman Ron Weiser said in a Statement following the Signature Drop-Off.

Terri Reid, President of the Michigan Freedom Fund, said in a Statement that Voters Not Politicians "has been dishonest with voters from the start."

Many Volunteers who support the effort don't see it that way. One Volunteer, Marquette Resident Marge Orslin, came from the Upper Peninsula to Lansing to help turn in the Signatures Monday and said the Petition isn't about Protecting Political Interests, but rather about Protecting Democracy. "If I said gerrymandering and they knew what the issue was, they ripped the petitions out of your hands to sign," said Orslin, who personally collected 528 Signatures. "It can't be Republicans, it can't be Democrats, it has to be the people" who decide how Districts are Drawn, She continued.

A Nationwide Analysis of 2016 Election Data by the Associated Press found Battleground States such as Michigan, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Florida, and Virginia, all of which had their Districts Drawn by Republican-led Legislatures, had significant Republican advantages in State House and Congressional Races.

NYC Wins When Everyone Can Vote! Michael H. Drucker
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