Supporters of a proposed measure that would change the way Michigan draws its political boundaries on Monday turned in hundreds of thousands of signatures to qualify the initiative for next year’s ballot. The initiative would take the power to draw political boundaries out of the hands of Michigan’s state legislature. Instead, an independent commission made up of four Democrats, four Republicans and five independents would draw legislative and congressional district lines every ten years. Staffers and volunteers — including one dressed as Santa — for the group Voters Not Politicians said they were turning in 188 boxes containing more than 425,000 signatures to the state Bureau of Elections.
They need 315,654 valid signatures to qualify the initiative, making it all but certain the measure will appear on the ballot next year.
The initiative would not allow elected officials, lobbyists, consultants or their family members to serve on the commission.
Though the group backing the initiative is ostensibly nonpartisan, Democrats have been mounting efforts to reform redistricting practices across the country. Supporters of a nonpartisan, or more independent, redistricting process are also gathering signatures for ballot measures in Colorado, Missouri, Ohio, South Dakota and Utah.