Can Michigan end gerrymandering? Proposed Analysis 2
October 25, 2018, 9:43 am by Sam Wang
The Princeton Gerrymandering project is kicking off! This week, members of my team will travel to Michigan and California to investigate the redistricting reform in the field. We are helping Woodrow Wilson College students as they evaluate best practices on how to implement an independent, voting committee in Michigan.
Overall, it was a huge step forward for the Wolverine State. Here’s our analysis of the value of the proposal – and one area to watch out for. (Below are our detailed comments on such initiatives PDF and Word documents. Also see our analysis of Colorado Y and Z Revision.)
Michigan is a diverse state, with unique demographics. It is also the hometown of one the worst partisan gerrymanders within the country, thanks to one-party control of the regional redistribution process. A grassroots organization, Voters are not politicians, aims to change that. They gathered signatures to qualify for Proposition 2 for the ballot, a measure that would form an independent redistricting committee. Voters can decide, as well as choose a new governor, in less than two weeks.
We’ve evaluated the proposal in detail. It was based on the California commission, an attempt to redistribute the paradigm. There is a lot to like about Michigan measures. The fundamentals of this committee are similar to those in California: a three-part committee made up of Democrats, Republicans and independent members, and all three groups are needed to adopt a plan of Congress or legislature. The committee must take into account a variety of factors, emphasizing fair representation of interested communities and a lack of partisan bias. Compactness is also important, but to a lesser extent, this focuses on community and people on how they are organized. Michigan has large population density differences, making it difficult to join communities in some cases.
One area of concern for the future is the involvement of the commissioners. Michigan does not require citizens to join a party when they register to vote. It can be difficult to identify Democrats and Republicans. More importantly, it will be a challenge to identify good trustees for the independent group. Most independent voters have some partisan bias, and some bias can be unavoidable. However, the secretary of state (who chooses a group of trustee candidates from which trustees will be drawn at random) may want to be careful to eliminate historical “independent candidates”. strong party.
Overall, Proposition 2 is a powerful endeavor. It could help open up fair representation and end gerrymandering in Michigan!