A big win for grassroots organization Voters Not Politicians Tuesday, as voters in Michigan largely supported Proposal 2 that will effectively end gerrymandering in the state. Under the current state constitution, district lines are drawn by state legislators every 10 years, however, critics have long argued that politicians manipulate those districts to favor a specific political party in future elections.
Proposal 2 strips lawmakers of the responsibility of mapping out districts and will hand that job over to a 13-member commission made up of citizens.
Voters Not Politicians is the organization behind getting the proposal on the ballot.
“You know it wasn’t surprising to me because I think the people of Michigan are tired of politics as usual,” Voters Not Politicians Executive Director Katie Fahey said after learning the proposal had passed.
The road to Tuesday's vote is one of the more compelling stories to come out of the midterm election, not only in Michigan but nationwide. It all started two years ago when Fahey posted a Facebook post that simply said “I’d like to take on Gerrymandering in Michigan. If you want to join me let me know.”
Fast forward two years later, over 14,000 volunteers had joined Fahey in the effort, the group had collected over 400,000 petition signatures, and had survived a last minute, $3 million ad-campaign against the proposal.
Fahey says, the lesson here is that one person can truly make a difference.
“You know it’s really easy to feel cynical right now in politics or to feel like your vote doesn’t matter," she said. "You know what is really cool is in Newaygo County we won that county by one vote. Even when everybody tells you its impossible unless you try you’ll never know.”
The proposal is set to become part of, Michigan’s constitution in 45 days.