The League of Women Voters in the Brighton/Howell Area of Michigan
These two maps show how the 8th district has changed over the years.
The location of district lines decide which voters vote for which representative. Changing the lines will change the relevant voters, and can change the identity, allegiance, and political priorities of a district's representative, and of the legislative delegation as a whole. Congressional districts and government legislative bodies should be apportioned substantially on population.
The League of Women Voters promotes transparent and accountable redistricting processes, and the end of hyper-partisan practices that don't benefit constituents. We believe responsibility for fair redistricting should be vested in an independent special commission, with membership that reflects the constituents within the district. The League works in states across the country to pass ballot initiatives to institute independent redistricting commissions.
American attempts to tailor district lines for political gain stretch back to the country's very origin. Patrick Henry, who opposed the new Constitution, tried to draw district lines to deny a seat in the first Congress to James Madison, the Constitution's primary author. Henry ensured that Madison's district was drawn to include counties politically opposed to Madison. The attempt failed, and Madison was elected. Politicians still carve -or attempt to carve - territory into districts for political gain, usually along partisan lines. This is called gerrymandering. Gerrymandering can lead to some serious consequences for the health of the democracy by allowing officials to select their voters rather than voters to elect their officials.
On December 18, 2017, Voters Not Politicians (VNP) submitted the requisite number of petition signatures for a ballot proposal to the Secretary of State’s office. The signatures were gathered by volunteers across the state of Michigan. The League of Women Voters of Michigan supports this ballot proposal that calls for an Independent Commission to establish district lines.
The League of Women Voters of Michigan continues to educate Michigan voters about the need for redistricting reform. Redistricting is a complicated topic, but citizen involvement to make this process fair is critical. Click here to visit the Michigan League's Redistricting "Issue" page to read more about the process in Michigan. The League is committed to redistricting reform in Michigan and to working to form a diverse coalition.
On December 22, 2017, The League of Women Voters of Michigan and 11 individual voters filed a lawsuit against the State of Michigan in federal court in Detroit to end unfair, partisan gerrymandering of Michigan’s Congressional, state senate and state house districts.
“The Michigan League of Women Voters today filed a federal lawsuit on behalf of voters throughout Michigan to end the practice of unfair, partisan gerrymandering,” said Judy Karandjeff, president of the Michigan League of Women Voters. “Michigan’s State House, Senate and Congressional districts are among the worst in the nation when it comes to partisan gerrymandering, and today’s lawsuit aims to fix the problem and restore voters’ rights to choose who best represents them. Ending partisan gerrymandering is critical to preserve our democracy and ensure every vote counts,” said Sue Smith, director of the League’s Redistricting Program.
The lawsuit asks the federal court to declare the current districts to be unconstitutional partisan gerrymanders and to ensure that the districts are redrawn in a fair fashion. Click here for the complete Press Release. Click here to read the Complaint.
On December 27, 2017, U.S. District Judge Denise Page Hood signed an order allowing a three judge panel to hear the case. Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals Chief Judge R. Guy Cole, Jr., and two other judges will preside over the case. Read the Detroit News article here. Details about the progression of the lawsuit through the court can be found here.
Talk to people you know about redistricting and why lines should be drawn so we can pick our politician instead of some politician picking us. Email us at info@LWVBrightonHowellArea.org with your questions and interest and we will help you become comfortable in talking about this important issue.