BY LOIS MAHARG
NAMI Washtenaw’s Board of Directors voted in September to endorse Voters Not Politicians and Proposal 2 after hearing from a VNP volunteer, who said the issue of mental health is more likely to receive attention and support if we end gerrymandering in Michigan.
Proposal 2 calls for an amendment to the state constitution. It would take the task of drawing voting district lines away from politicians, who draw lines favoring their own re-election and the election of other members of their party, and give it to an Independent Citizens’ Redistricting Commission.
This Commission of Citizens would be composed of ordinary Michigan voters: 4 Republicans, 4 Democrats, and 5 voters unaffiliated with either of the two major political parties. Commission members would be selected by a process involving random drawings by the secretary of state. Members would work together to produce 3 maps free of partisan bias (one showing voting district lines for state representatives, another for state senators, and a third for U.S. Congressional representatives).
Proposal 2: Fair, Impartial, and Transparent
The amendment would create a redistricting process that is fair. Commissioners would create maps according to a set of strict criteria. The number of seats won by each party would be more closely proportional to the number of votes each party received statewide.
The new redistricting process would be impartial. In the creation of the maps no partisan data would be allowed. No one with a conflict of interest — for example, no politician, lobbyist, or political consultant — would be eligible to serve on the commission. Only ordinary registered voters would serve.
Finally, the new redistricting process would be transparent. All meetings of the commission would be public, as would all data and software used to produce the maps. Town halls before and after creation of the maps would maximize public input and oversight.
Please don’t sit the Nov. 6 election out! Vote yes on Proposal 2 and you’ll help create a system where every vote counts.