Lansing, MI- The Michigan Supreme Court ruled Tuesday that a ballot proposal to create an independent redistricting commission will appear on the Nov. 6 ballot.
The commission would be tasked with drawing the boundaries of election districts, ideally in a manner that is fair to the voters of each district.
Volunteers with a group called Voters Not Politicians gathered signatures and held educational events throughout the state, with nearly 400,000 people signing the petition to put it on the ballot.
Justices Richard Bernstein, Beth Clement, Bridget McCormack and David Viviano voted to allow the proposal to go on the ballot. Justices Stephen Markman, Kurtis Wilder and Brian Zahra dissented.
The passed by voters in November, it would create a commission of 13 members appointed by the Secretary of State. There would be four Republicans, four Democrats and five independent members who vow they are not affiliated with any major political party. Lines for districts are re-drawn every ten years.
Currently district lines are drawn by the legislators themselves, guided largely by the political party in charge. The result has been odd-shaped districts that most recently favor the Republican party. This practice is called gerrymandering, and Voters Not Politicians is hoping to end it.
“Our state Constitution begins with, ‘All political power is inherent in the people.’ The court’s decision upholds our right as citizens to petition our government for positive change,” said Katie Fahey, founder and executive director of Voters Not Politicians. “Hundreds of thousands of voters signed their name to have the chance to vote to bring the redistricting process out in the open. Michigan voters are ready for a transparent redistricting process, where election district lines represent the people – not special interests. It’s time voters choose their politicians, not the other way around. Our volunteers, donors and partners are ecstatic that our proposal will be on the ballot Nov. 6.”