Court Upholds Michigan’s Right to Move Forward with Independent Redistricting Commission

Issues
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Slay the Gerrymander
Lija Hogan (left), Nancy Wang (center) and Kelly Schalter (right) are slaying the gerrymander together. Lija and Kelly drafted the amendment language and collected signatures. Together they served on the board of Voters Not Politicians.

A federal appeals court has unanimously upheld a lower court decision to deny an attempt by the Michigan Republican Party and special interests to undermine Michigan’s voter-initiated Independent Citizens Redistricting Commission by delaying its implementation.

Campaign Legal Center (CLC) is representing Voters Not Politicians in the case to protect the commission, and CLC’s Paul Smith gave oral arguments before the appeals court on March 17.

Impact of Decision

The decision places the interests of Michigan voters first. Michigan voters want fair maps. They will not be silenced by special interests, who continue to try and exert their will over the redistricting process. Now Michiganders can continue applying to serve on the commission with the confidence that two courts and four judges have given it the green light.

Applications to serve on Michigan’s first Independent Citizens Redistricting Commission will be open through June 1, 2020. So far, the Secretary of State’s office has processed 4,332 applications from nearly every county in the state, showing widespread interest in citizen participation.

Background

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.

Learn more about CLC’s state-based solutions to put the power of citizens behind efforts to combat partisan gerrymandering.

Corey handles media relations for the CLC voting rights and redistricting teams and creates online content.