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League of Women Voters calls for Mich. redistricting reforms

In a press release, the organization says:

Calls for transparency and other reforms to Michigan’s redistricting process were ignored this year, as the Legislature went about the business of drawing political maps in the usual secretive fashion.

Maps for Michigan’s new Congressional and State legislative districts were signed into law in August and will remain in place for a decade. But the League of Women Voters of Michigan (LWVMI) and other public interest groups say that efforts to reform the process must not end.

The League helped to found a coalition of nonprofit groups, the Michigan Redistricting Collaborative, to advocate for transparent redistricting with meaningful opportunities for public involvement. Redistricting committees in the House and Senate held a series of hearings and citizens had the opportunity to testify, although the maps adopted by the Legislature were not revealed until the day they were brought to a vote in committee.

“We knew the prospect of major change was unlikely this year, when legislators had a direct stake in the outcome” says Sue Smith, LWVMI President. “But now, with the benefit of recent experience and the stakes deferred for a decade, we should be able to have constructive dialogue about how to do it better next time.”

LWVMI and The Thomas M. Cooley Law School are sponsoring Redistricting: Not Just for Insiders, on Wednesday, October 19, to review Michigan’s current redistricting methods and present alternative approaches. Joining League President Smith on the panel are State Representatives Rashida Tlaib and John Walsh, former League of Women Voters U.S. President Mary Wilson, and Jeff Guilfoyle, President of the Citizens Research Council of Michigan. Former State Representative Lynn Jondahl will moderate the discussion.

“We are going to continue the conversation and work for a process that allows voters to choose their representatives, rather than the other way around,” says Smith.

The forum will take place from 6:30 to 8:30 pm at the Cooley Law School Center, 300 S. Capitol, Room 911 (9th floor), in Lansing.

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