This is an excerpt of a column I wrote for Dome Magazine.
By Chad Selweski
Proposal 2, the political reform plan to revamp the state’s process of redrawing election districts, may serve as the most far-reaching ballot proposition in recent Michigan history.
But what has been entirely lost in the increasingly intense campaign ads — pro and con — as Tuesday’s election approaches is this: Prop 2 essentially attempts to restore the redistricting process that was mandated in the Michigan Constitution, which was approved by voters in 1963.
Says Michigan Supreme Court Justice David Viviano, a Republican, in his July opinion written for the court majority that awarded the proposal a spot on the ballot.
Like Proposal 2, the Michigan Constitution established a bipartisan, independent commission responsible for mapping legislative district boundaries; appointed the secretary of state to provide basic administrative assistance in the process; and blocked legislators from involvement in creating districts that could protect their fate at the ballot box. The Legislature’s only role was to appropriate funds to finance the commission’s work. In nearly every aspect, the process established by the constitution mirrors what Prop 2 supporters have set out to accomplish.
Over time, the ’63 bipartisan commission was pushed aside due to a series of court fights and the panel’s inability to avoid becoming mired in partisan deadlocks.
The high court’s 4-3 majority ruling in July suggested all that’s needed to restore constitutional intent is a few simple revisions to the original plan devised at the 1961-62 Michigan Constitutional Convention so that the system complies with current federal law.
“If anything, (Proposal 2) is an attempt to the correct the (U.S.) constitutional deficiencies so the basic design of the 1963 Constitution – which created an independent redistricting commission – can be implemented,” Viviano wrote.
Continue reading here.