Fed up with partisan gerrymandering in Michigan’s state legislative and congressional districts, Voters Not Politicians (VNP) proposed a ballot initiative in Michigan that would create an independent redistricting commission (IRC), passing it overwhelmingly in November 2018. After volunteers collected over 425,000 signatures from Michigan voters in every one of the state’s counties, submitted the initiative to be put on the general election ballot in November and survived several legal challenges, Proposal 2 was put on the ballot in the midterm election. On Nov. 6, 2018, 61% (over 2.5 million) of Michigan voters passed Proposal 2, amending the Michigan Constitution to establish an IRC. Michigan voters of both major political parties supported the amendment, including voters in 67 of Michigan’s 83 counties.
IRCs take the power of redistricting out of the hands of partisan legislators, who have proven that they will use the process to gain power when given the opportunity to do so. IRCs instead give the power to the citizens to choose their representatives and create a more fair and transparent process for redrawing districts. After receiving the results of the 2020 Census, Michigan’s IRC drew new congressional districts, following the criteria established by the amendment. On Jan. 20, 2022, a group of plaintiffs filed suit against the commissioners and Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson challenging the map, arguing that the congressional map adopted by the commission violates the “one person, one vote” requirement and that the IRC failed to comply with the guidelines prescribed by the Michigan Constitution. The plaintiffs are also seeking a preliminary injunction to prevent the congressional maps from being used in future elections and requiring new maps to be drawn.
Campaign Legal Center (CLC) represents VNP as a proposed intervenor-defendant in this case. VNP moved to intervene in the lawsuit shortly after it was filed, in order to offer its expertise and insights as the drafter and sponsor of the constitutional amendment at issue and defend the commission’s work to draw fair maps for the state of Michigan.