I’ve got to believe that Mother Nature doesn’t much care for gerrymandering.
The group campaigning for an end to the process of politicians gerrymandering legislative districts for partisan gain has enjoyed an incredible string of good luck thanks to the weather. Who knew the organizers, Voters Not Politicians, would be collecting petition signatures on sunny, 80-degree days in early October?
Zach Gorchow writes in his blog for the Lansing-based Gongwer News Service that the all-volunteer effort is off to a fast start. On Oct. 6 they announced that, in less than two months, they had reached the halfway point of their petition-collection goal.
If the weather continues to cooperate, Gorchow notes that there are plenty of high school and college football games, fall festivals and the Detroit Thanksgiving Day Parade to provide the petition gatherers with prime opportunities in the coming weeks.
They need 315,654 signatures to win a spot on the 2018 statewide ballot, plus they will want to secure a sizeable cushion, putting the finish line at a bit over 400,000. At this rate, they could complete their task by early December, before snow and cold become a factor.
The proposal to overhaul the once-a-decade process of redrawing legislative districts will also need certification of the petitions from the state Bureau of Elections. A lawsuit will almost certainly be filed at some point in an attempt to halt the process.
Republican-linked organizations will fight the plan to put an independent commission in charge of the district maps because, well, the GOP controls every step of the current process, with control over the House, the Senate, the governor and the state Supreme Court.
Besides, they think that taking the reins away from the politicians is some kind of liberal Democratic scam.
Gorchow reports that he senses a tide of support for the Voters Not Politicians proposal that extends well beyond partisan loyalties:
I’ve been struck at how many of my friends and acquaintances, whom I would generally consider active voters who pay attention to politics but don’t live and breathe it by any means, are fired up to participate on this proposal.
… Supporters will have to overcome a likely torrent of money from Republican donors paying for advertising criticizing it. They will have to hope their relatively simple message of letting the people draw the maps instead of politicians becomes the dominant theme, not the complex, multilayered structure the proposal would devise to draw the maps.