Volunteers from the citizen group Voters Not Politicians arrived in Lansing, Michigan on Monday, December 18, 2017 to deliver over 400,000 signatures to the Michigan Bureau of Elections to put an end to gerrymandering in the state. The group needed 315,654 signatures to qualify for the November 2018 mid-term ballot. The hard-working organization of 3,500 volunteers completed the job two months ahead of schedule.
Originally, the group submitted petition language in the late spring of 2017, with the plan to begin collecting signatures by the end of June to mid-July at the latest. Approval was delayed by several weeks with no clear explanation why. The petitions were finally approved in mid-August, and volunteers began canvassing at sporting events, farmers’ markets, craft shows, harvest festivals, and highway rest stops in all of Michigan’s 83 counties.
“This campaign wouldn’t have been possible without each and every volunteer who lent their time and talents to the campaign,” said Jamie Lyons-Eddy, statewide field director for Voters Not Politicians. “From circulators to folks organizing education events across Michigan, this has truly been a campaign for the people by the people. We look forward to continue to grow our volunteer base as we secure our place on the ballot and head into the campaign season.”
Despite the late start, enough signatures were collected; which allowed the petitions to be submitted two months early. As word spread about the petition and the effort to make elections fair and every vote count, people contacted VNP asking where they could sign.
VNP volunteers successfully completed the first major milestone of the campaign to get the amendment added to the state constitution. Beginning with the New Year, volunteers will be needed to canvas and educate Michigan residents about gerrymandering, what it does to the state’s electoral map, and why it disenfranchises so many Michigan voters. If you’re interested in volunteering to help VNP continue its work, you can sign up here. If you can donate to keep the campaign funded, click the link to go to VNP’s donation page.
The constitutional amendment will create an independent board of citizens that represents all voters in Michigan. They will redraw the election districts based on fair and equitable distribution of voters, ensuring that every vote cast counts. The current system in Michigan guarantees a majority of districts will always be won by one party, regardless of how the majority of voters cast ballots.
You can still get involved and help VNP succeed in putting this important and necessary referendum on the 2018 midterm ballot. Volunteer and donate today to put an end to gerrymandering in Michigan.