LANSING — State Reps. Jon Hoadley (D-Kalamazoo) and Jeremy Moss (D-Southfield) have introduced legislation to improve Michigan’s redistricting process by creating a nonpartisan commission that would oversee the drawing of political boundaries. The legislation comes in the wake of a study published by the Electoral Integrity Project (EIP) which recently found that North Carolina — the most highly partisan districted state in the nation — was no longer considered a democracy due to the drawing of its districts.
“When it comes to voting, people — not politicians — should be in the driver’s seat,” Rep. Hoadley said. “In Michigan, the current rules let politicians draw legislative maps to choose the voters they want. Voters should be the ones doing the choosing. Not only are the current rules a disservice to the people we’re meant to represent, but it undermines the health of our democracy.”
Rep. Hoadley has introduced a state constitutional amendment, House Joint Resolution B, to allow for a citizen’s nonpartisan redistricting commission, while Rep. Moss introduced House Bill 4122, a companion bill to create the new nonpartisan citizen’s redistricting commission in law. Together, the bill and joint resolution would address the process commonly known as gerrymandering, in which elected officials determine the district lines for future elections, crafting them to ensure that themselves or their party continue to remain in power. To curb this practice, the new legislation creates a nonpartisan citizen redistricting commission comprised of regular citizens who would be tasked with creating district maps that are constitutional, compliant with the Voting Rights Act, contiguous, geographically relevant and not drawn to protect incumbents.
“Michigan is ranked the least ethical and transparent state in the nation, and extreme gerrymandering is part of the reason why,” said Rep. Moss. “Part of having free, fair and open elections is making sure that power is concentrated with the voters, not the legislators. Creating a nonpartisan commission would strengthen the integrity of our elections and — at a time of low faith in government — work to restore trust in government.”