Vote against gerrymandering
To the editor:
For most of our country’s history, politicians have had the power to redraw voting districts every 10 years based on the federal census. This allows them to choose their own voters – by drawing “safe” districts for themselves – rather than voters choosing their representatives. Practically guaranteed of reelection, politicians are increasingly only accountable to themselves and political parties. This self-serving act is often called “gerrymandering.”
The grassroots, nonpartisan group Voters Not Politicians is leading the charge to change all this in Michigan by putting the task in the hands of an Independent Citizens Redistricting Commission. Composed of regular citizens and drawn in a manner resembling a jury pool, the Citizen’s Commission will put the power to draw political lines into the hands of the people and take it away from politicians and lobbyists.
This initiative also will take the process out from behind closed doors and into the open by requiring a series of public meetings to gain citizen input for any proposed maps. After a grassroots army of 5,000 people collected more than 425,000 signatures in its support, the proposal has been certified by the Board of State Canvassers for the Nov. 6 ballot.
Michigan is one of the most gerrymandered states in the U.S. Here we have a prime example of it: Powell Township and west Ishpeming don’t get to vote with their neighbors, even though areas further west of them do. They have been chopped off from the rest of Marquette County and shuffled over to the 110th House District in the western UP. That means these citizens don’t have the same representation as their peers do, those with whom they share work sites, schools and community organizations. That makes no sense.
I urge all readers to vote on Nov. 6 to create this much-needed Independent Citizens Redistricting Commission in Michigan. Voters Not Politicians is a non-partisan volunteer group that continues to welcome volunteers and donations. The group receives no money or assistance from any political party. For further information and calendar of events go to www.VotersNotPoliticians.com