Citizen and Legislative Efforts to Reform Redistricting in 2018

Grassroots and advocacy groups around the country are working to curb gerrymandering – the manipulation of voting districts to favor or disfavor one group of voters over another or to protect incumbents. Similar grassroots efforts in recent years led to the successful implementation of independent commissions in Arizona and California.

24 states have a ballot initiative process that allows citizens to propose a law or constitutional amendment, either to the legislature or directly to voters. Other states only allow the legislature to amend the constitution or pass laws, meaning, in these states, that citizens must persuade their legislature to pass reforms.

A round-up of the latest news on key citizen-driven and legislative efforts to reform the redistricting process.

Ballot Initiatives

Michigan

A ballot initiative that would create an independent citizens’ redistricting commission to draw the state’s political boundaries, proposed by Voters Not Politicians (VNP), will go before voters on the November 2018 ballot. Voters Not Politicians founder Katie Fahey hopes a nonpartisan commission will remove politics from the redistricting process, and create a system that “represents voters instead of politicians.”

The group submitted nearly 450,000 signatures to the Michigan Board of State Canvassers in December 2017, overwhelmingly surpassing the amount necessary to place a question before Michigan voters on the ballot in 2018 (315,654).

At the beginning of June, a three-judge panel at the Michigan Court of Appeals ordered for VNP’s measure to be placed on the November ballot, unanimously rejecting a challenge that contended the initiative is too expansive for a constitutional amendment and does not list all to the sections that would be abrogated. The challengers appealed the decision to the Michigan Supreme Court. Learn more about the lawsuit here.

On June 20, the Board of State…

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