Advocates of radically overhauling partisan gerrymandering are increasingly looking to ballot initiatives to reform the redistricting process, in hopes of circumventing recalcitrant legislatures. Supporters of a proposal to create a nonpartisan redistricting commission in Michigan say they will turn in more than 400,000 signatures by the end of the year. They need 315,000 of those signatures to be valid in order to qualify for next year’s ballot. In Ohio, a coalition of organizations is in the process of collecting the 305,591 valid signatures they need to get a constitutional amendment on the ballot. And in Colorado, another coalition plans two ballot initiatives — one that would reform congressional redistricting, and another to reform legislative redistricting.
Efforts to get initiatives or constitutional amendments on the ballot are underway in Missouri, South Dakota and Utah.
Oregon Secretary of State Dennis Richardson (R) has created a task force to study a nonpartisan redistricting plan, which could turn into a ballot drive as well. Bipartisan study groups of legislators in Maryland, Indiana and Louisiana are all taking initial steps toward formulating a proposal.
Each initiative is unique to its own state — Utah’s and Ohio’s would each create a seven-member commission, South Dakota’s a nine-member commission, and Missouri’s plan would use statistical modeling for new district lines.