A Michigan petition aimed at preventing political gerrymandering will go before the Board of State Canvassers on Thursday, when potential approval could end a delay that cost organizers more than a month of prime summer signature-gathering time. The “Voters Not Politicians” petition proposes creating an independent citizen redistricting commission to redraw legislative and congressional boundaries every 10 years, a task currently controlled by the Michigan Legislature. Organizers submitted language on June 28, prompting Bureau of Elections staff to review what critics are calling an overly complicated proposal to amend the Michigan Constitution. The small-print proposal spans seven pages and would alter or repeal several sections of the state’s primary governing document.
The group made a series of modifications during the review process, including one change Monday morning, spokesman Katie Fahey said later the same day. If the petition is approved as to form, volunteers could begin circulating petitions later this week.
“We’ve been frustrated,” Fahey said. “By the time of the meeting, it will have been 48 or 49 days since we turned in language. We’ve lost an entire month of the summer, but thankfully Michigan has a lot of fall activities happening too. We have a lot of volunteers set and ready to get going.”
While canvassers will ultimately vote on the matter, the Bureau of Elections “will recommend approval” of the redistricting petition so long as it “contains the edits that were suggested,” Secretary of State spokesman Fred Woodhams said Monday after the group submitted a printer’s affidavit and final draft.