Today, Issue One joins a group of political reform organizations in filing an amicus brief at the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit in Michigan in support of the voter-approved independent redistricting commission that passed overwhelmingly in 2018.
“We know that you cannot take the politics out of redistricting, but you can and should take the politicians out,” said Issue One CEO Nick Penniman. “That is why Issue One believes that independent commissions represent the best tool yet for drawing congressional districts.”
In 2017, Issue One Board Member Katie Fahey founded “Voters Not Politicians” to ban partisan gerrymandering in Michigan after she famously posted to Facebook about fixing the issue. It quickly ballooned into a $16 million operation that collected more than 315,000 signatures to put the question on the ballot. It was one of the most significant bipartisan reforms to pass in 2018.
Michigan’s Proposal 2 would create a 13-member citizen redistricting commission made up of four self-identified Democrats, four self-identified Republicans, and five individuals who do not identify with either party. It would also bar individuals with ties to the current political system in the state – including lobbyists, elected officeholders and their staff, among others – from participating.
Individuals in Daunt v. Benson and Michigan Republican Party v. Benson are challenging Proposal 2 regarding the commission’s makeup and constitutionality.
The amicus brief argues that (1) other jurisdictions have similar conflict-of-interest restrictions on who may serve on independent redistricting commissions and (2) “partisan redistricting by political insiders is nothing short of election-rigging.”
Issue One joins Common Cause, the Leadership Now Project, Equal Citizens Foundation, RepresentUs, and the Center for the Study of the Presidency and Congress as amici on the brief.
Read the brief here.