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home : columnists and contributors : columnists and contributors June 27, 2017

3/15/2017 12:01:00 AM
Letter: Meeting on how voting districts are drawn March 22

To the Editor:

In 2014 and 2016, Democrats received more votes in many state House races, yet Republicans hold a huge majority; in Michigan, it's 63-47. If you are "woke" to action but wonder where your individual effort could best help righting our unbalanced governance ship, please attend the Count MI Vote / Voters Not Politicians Town Hall March 22nd, 6:30 pm, Petoskey High School. It's one of a dozen-plus such events scheduled around our state to bring Michiganders clarity on how voting districts are drawn, why it matters, and to focus action, starting with a state petition drive to launch in May. The drive is for a ballot initiative providing residents a voice in the redistricting process; specifically, to create a non-partisan Citizen's Redistricting Commission to replace our politician-designed mapping (political gerrymandering). Arizona, California, Idaho, and Washington use independent commissions; lawmakers, lobbyists, consultants, major donors, etc. are ineligible to serve. The petition's goal is to get the issue on the 2018 ballot.

Political gerrymandering makes it impossible for a district to change parties, even if a very qualified, strongly-supported candidate joins the field; if this candidate is not from the party that mapped the district in 2010, he/she stands virtually no chance. Further detrimental, this leads to such candidates deciding against running for office, leaving voters with no options and a resulting governing body unrepresentative of and unanswerable to its people: an insular, self-perpetuating and self-serving institution.

No artistic skill required to come learn more about how you, personally, can work to change this undemocratic practice of elected officials drawing the lines, making the rules . . . choosing their own voters. Just show up!

Respectfully Submitted,

M-E M. Chaney

Harbor Springs

FCB 2017

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