Gerrymandering in Michigan is worse than you think

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Gerrymandering in Michigan is worse than you think

Jack Warmelink, Staff Writer

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“Giving a party the ability to redraw lines is like giving keys to a bar to an alcoholic,” said LN history teacher, Jay Peterson.
Gerrymandering is the redrawing of district lines to make it so one party has an advantage in elections, and it may affect you more than you know. Michigan has an extreme problem with gerrymandering, especially within the Detroit area.

One district that people against gerrymandering point out is district 11, slightly west of Detroit. It looks like an upside down U and is one of the most obviously gerrymandered districts in the state. 

Peterson thinks that drawing district voting lines needs to be independent and transparent and not a part of politics when the lines are drawn. You can’t have a party’s political affiliation be the deciding factor in an election. 

 

Loy Norrix Government teacher Niambi Pringle says that she doesn’t agree with gerrymandering. “Because it [gerrymandering] can be used in a way that can disenfranchise a group of people, and I think that it can help certain political parties that are trying to increase political standing,” said Pringle. However not everyone agrees with this view.

Government teacher Michael Wright said, “[Gerrymandering] should be allowed because the constitution doesn’t say that it’s illegal, and I would be ok with getting rid of it if we made an

amendment to the constitution that made it illegal.”

Last year in the 2018 midterm elections, proposal 2 was put forth by a group called Voters Not Politicians, which was formed by one person who made an angry facebook post about not liking gerrymandering and it blew up. Katie Fahey raised $16 million towards the project and got enough signatures to go on the 2018 ballot, where it won with a 61% approval rating.

This means Michigan’s new district lines will be drawn by a committee with 4 democrats, 4 republicans and 5 independents. They’ll have to decide on the lines by the 2022 elections and this should make it a lot more fair for everyone voting. This committee will have to redraw 15 state House districts, 10 state Senate districts and nine of the state’s 14 congressional districts because they were considered too gerrymandered to be legal anymore. As one of the most obvious gerrymandered districts, District 11 will definitely be one of the redrawn lines.

Voters need to pay careful attention to what happens with Proposal 2 and make sure that the people on the committee are held accountable. They will need to get the districts drawn as soon as possible so that they’re available as soon as possible for future elections. 

We should never have been fine with parties taking control of our vote.