Voters Not Politicians Speak at Dems Potluck

July 23, 2017

 

On Saturday, July 22, members of Voters Not Politicians spoke to a large group of concerned citizens at the Little Fleet, about their progress in getting a petition printed to get the issue of nonpartisan redistricting on the ballot in November 2018.  Linda Maginity began by saying that if you are a Democrat in a ‘packed’ Republican voting district, your candidate has no chance of being elected.  After the 2020 US Census is taken, whatever political party is in power, will redraw voting district lines to favor their candidates.  Voters Not Politicians wants to take that process away from politicians and give it to a nonpartisan redistricting commission made up of thirteen members consisting of four Democrats, four Republicans and five Independents.  According to Bridge Magazine, Michigan at present, is one of the best states in the nation at gerrymandering, and that isn’t something to be proud of.  This process of partisan redistricting allows politicians to choose voters, not the other way around.

 

 

Team members asked the group to get educated by signing up for the Voters Not Politicians newsletter athttp://www.votersnotpoliticians.com, to sign up to volunteer to circulate petitions and get out the word, and donate as special interest groups who benefit from the current system, both political parties, and people like the Koch Brothers will spend millions of dollars to try to defeat our efforts.  We will need to fight back with advertising and putting together hundreds of local events across the state.  Voters Not Politicians is a grass roots, nonpartisan effort put together by millennial women who want to assure that your vote counts.

 

At the moment, the language of the petition is being reviewed by the Bureau of Elections who are taking their time at reviewing since this effort, if successful, will change parts of the Michigan Constitution.  Linda Pepper reported that she called Grand Traverse County Representative, Larry Inmann’s office to urge him to get behind the effort and to see what he could do to get the petition approved so that circulation for signatures can begin in a timely manner.  If it is delayed until winter sets in, it will be much harder to get the number of petitions signed in to ensure that it will be on the ballet in November 2018.  She recommended that we call both Rep. Inmann and Rep. Schmidt and insist that they support this effort.

 

Sylvia McCullough reported that she has called the Bureau of Elections Office and spoke to an administrator and voiced her concerns that the delay we are experiencing may be due to political opposition trying to block getting the petition approved.  She was assured that would not be the case in the BOE, and that extra time was needed to review the ways in which nonpartisan redistricting would change the Michigan Constitution.  She also reminded him that time was of the essence to be able to take advantage of the summer tourist season up here in Grand Traverse County.  He assured her that they are aware of that issue.  She urged members who call the BOE to ask to speak to the appropriate person handling this petition review.

 

Camille Lievense reported that there are fourteen Petition Circulating Captains in Grand Traverse County alone, four right here in Traverse City.  There is a great deal of interest in getting this issue before the voters in 2018 across the state.  Voting districts have always been gerrymandered, but recent computer driven analytics have made it a science that has increased the process making it easier for political parties to ensure that their candidates get elected.  Hal Gurian reported that according to Ballotpedia, in 2014 the average margin of victory was 35.8% compared to 31.8% in 2012, for the US Congress.  That in Michigan in 2016 Republicans won 51% statewide for the US Congress vote.  However, 9 Republicans were sent to Congress versus 5 for the Democrats, demonstrating the imbalance in representation that gerrymandering creates.

 

Betsy Coffia closed by saying that often grass roots efforts such as this are viewed as unsophisticated.  She reminded us that this is untrue as it is due to grass roots opposition that the Republican efforts to gut the ACA have failed.  That the fight is not over and we need to keep up the good work that we have begun that is bearing fruit.  

 

 

 

 

Betsy Coffia closed by saying that often grass roots efforts such as this are viewed as unsophisticated.  She reminded us that this is untrue as it is due to grass roots opposition that the Republican efforts to gut the ACA have failed.  That the fight is not over and we need to keep up the good work that we have begun that is bearing fruit.  

 

 

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