Policymaking at the Ballot Box ISSUE 5 | CAPITOL IDEAS
by Lisa McKinney
On Nov. 6, Michigan voters passed Proposal 2, amending the state’s constitution and transferring the power to draw the state's congressional and legislative districts from the state Legislature to an independent redistricting commission. The proposal, known as the Independent Redistricting Commission Initiative, is intended to end gerrymandering in the state. Voters Not Politicians, a registered ballot committee, was behind the proposal. The six-page long, intricate proposal that rewrote the rules around how congressional and state legislative districts are drawn had simple beginnings. “People across the country were really divided after the 2016 election, including my own family,” said Katie Fahey, founder and executive
director of Voters Not Politicians. “I wasn’t looking forward to going home for Thanksgiving dinner because I felt like we were at a point where we couldn’t agree on anything. So I put out a Facebook post that read: ‘I'd like to take on gerrymandering in Michigan, if you're interested in doing this as well, please let me know.’” That Facebook status started a political movement, Fahey said. Thousands of volunteers connected to help create the policy, collect enough signatures to get on the ballot, and rally voters to approve the proposal on Election Day. The group decided to use the ballot initiative process in order to have control over the amendment’s language and give Michiganders the opportunity to vote on it directly.