With midterm elections right around the corner, Grand Rapids attorney, Tom Sinas, explains Michigan’s Proposition 2, which is on the ballot next week and proposes an updated method for redistricting.
Michigan’s Current State of Redistricting Laws
Right now in Michigan, there’s a true intersection of law and politics with regard to how we draw our legislative districts. These laws are somewhat vague and loose. District lines are currently drawn by the political party that’s in power when redistricting occurs, which is every 10 years, with the next redrawing coming up in 2021.
While Michigan has a few basic laws regarding redistricting, there are also several federal laws that govern redistricting. These laws state redistricting can’t be used to discriminate against people and that a state must have equal numbers of people in the districts. Neither state nor federal regulations prevent oddly shaped districts, leaving that up to the political party in power at the time.
History of Michigan Prop 2
This summer, a case made its way all the way to the Michigan Supreme Court begging one question: is it legally appropriate to put the question of redistricting before Michigan voters at the midterms? And the majority of the Supreme Court decided yes, this is a question that should go on a ballot proposal.
Redistricting and What You Should Know
If passed on November 6, Proposition 2 will give an independent commission control over drawing new legislative districts instead of leaving it up to politicians. This commission would be made of 13 citizens appointed by the Secretary of State, composed of five independents, four Democrats, and four Republicans. The commission will be tasked with drawing new legislative maps. Michigan Prop 2 also includes some provisions the citizen commission must abide by. For example, maps must not be drawn disproportionately in favor of one political party over another.
Only time will tell if we’ll stick with the current method of redistricting in Michigan or vote in a new means to draw these district lines.
For more information go to www.sinasdramis.com.