A grassroots group of citizen activists opposed to partisan gerrymandering is making rapid progress toward its goal of getting a redistricting proposal on the ballot in Michigan in 2018.
An all-volunteer force, about 4,ooo strong and spread over 83 Michigan counties, has collected about 450,000 voter signatures in four months. That's according to Katie Fahey, president of the ballot committee called Voters Not Politicians.
"We have blown our goal out of the water," said Fahey.
Fahey said the group plans to submit the signatures to the Michigan Bureau of Elections on Monday. She said only 315,654 valid voter signatures are required to get on the ballot, and the group could have had two more months to collect signatures.
"From the very beginning since it was just a Facebook post, it just resonated with people that they wanted something that was actually fair, that was transparent, that they could trust again," said Fahey. "I think also the fact that we are non-partisan is really appealing."
The ballot proposal would put an independent commission of citizens in charge of drawing the lines of legislative districts. Under the proposed constitutional amendment, there would be four Democrats, four Republicans, and five members without an affiliation with either party.
Fahey said getting the proposal on the ballot in 2018 is just the first step. She said a campaign for votes for the ballot proposal will involve a big educational effort, and she expects fierce resistance from politicians with a vested interest in maintaining the status quo. Currently the authority for redistricting belongs to the legislature after the census is taken every ten years.