League of Women Voters to hold discussion on redistricting

Published 9:57 am Tuesday, September 22, 2015

The League of Women Voters of Berrien and Cass counties together with the Rotary Club of Berrien Springs/Eau Claire will host an educational town hall about redistricting at 6:30 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 24 at the Regional Education Service Agency (RESA) in Berrien Springs.

The presentation will explore how legislative lines are drawn in Michigan, who draws them and why it is a critically important question for those concerned about fair representation.

In Michigan, the district lines are drawn by elected officials in the legislature, effectively allowing politicians to choose their voters and giving the political party in power at the time a tremendous advantage.

What are the ramifications of partisan drawn districts that favor one party over another? Is there a better and fairer way to do this? What are the alternatives?

The U.S. Supreme Court’s recent decision on Arizona’s Independent Redistricting Commission said there is an alternative and that citizens — not just politicians — have the right to decide how Congressional district lines are drawn.

The decision has grabbed the public’s attention. Some have asked if Michigan, like Arizona, should use an independent commission to draw the lines — not only for the congressional Districts, but for the State House and Senate as well.

This alternative and others will be presented at the town hall.

This fall, The League of Women Voters of Michigan will host 30 community based redistricting education programs across the state of Michigan. All town halls are open to the public. Everyone is encouraged to attend.