Making Democracy Work

Legislative Redistricting

Add your name to the LWV-AAA list of interested citizens who want to be notified of League events and actions related to redistricting as they become available.

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Do you belong to a Washtenaw area group (book club, neighbors, hobby, or other) that wants to learn about legislative redistricting? LWV-AAA has teams of trained presenters who will describe how redistricting is currently done in Michigan, what the issues are and what could be done to improve the process. The presentation is educational in nature and not associated with any ballot campaign. To find out more, contact


The League of Women Voters is one of the plaintiffs in a lawsuit filed in Pennsylvania seeking to nullify the state's congressional-district map as an unconstitutional partisan gerrymander. Check out this June NY Times article for details. Hearings were scheduled to start December 11 according to Mother Jones

The Pennsylvania suit was filed in state court and, if successful, would impact only Pennsylvania redistricting. Three other gerrymandering lawsuits ( Maryland, Wisconsin and North Carolina) were filed in federal court and could have nationwide impact.



August 31, 2017

Dear Local League Presidents,

As you probably know, the redistricting ballot proposal submitted by Voters Not Politicians has been approved by the Michigan Board of State Canvassers as to form. The Board of State Canvassers approved technical formatting issues of the initiative petition but did not approve the substance of the proposal or the summary.

Having received the approval, Voters Not Politicians (VNP) has begun collecting signatures. We are aware that many League members believe we should support the ballot proposal and want to participate in the signature gathering process.

The LWVMI Board has discussed the various options the League might take.

Michigan's Campaign Finance Law requires groups to file a ballot question committee if they receive or spend $500 or more in cash, or in "in-kind" contributions in support or opposition of a ballot proposal. (See attached MI Ballot Question Committee Manual).

If LWVMI supported the ballot proposal, our costs, including "in-kind" contributions would exceed $500.

Voters Not Politicians has filed a ballot question committee. LWVMI has not.

For many months we worked with a number of groups, including VNP, to try to form a diverse coalition. Unfortunately, we were not successful. VNP chose to go ahead.

We could join VNP, but it would not be a coalition. We would have no voice in any decisions VNP made and we would not be able to protect the use of the League's name.

The League believes that in order to be successful, redistricting reform must be supported by a coalition of groups that reflects the diversity of our state.

Since LWVMI has not filed a ballot question committee and has not joined VNP, we cannot support the proposal and League members may not participate in VNP activities, including signature gathering, as League members. They may do so as individuals.

Further, Local Leagues cannot take any action in support or opposition to this ballot proposal. You may be asked by VNP for permission to speak and to circulate petitions at your upcoming meetings. They are welcome to circulate petitions in the hallways of public buildings, but they cannot make announcements, display handouts or circulate petitions during your meetings. Again, this would require reporting under the Campaign Finance Law.

We remain committed to redistricting reform in Michigan and to working to form a diverse coalition.

We will continue our efforts to educate voters on the redistricting problems in our state and the need for an Independent Commission.

Please make sure you share this memo with your geographical units and members as appropriate. It will also be placed on LWVMI's website.

We recognize that you may receive questions from your members. Please feel free to contact us if you have questions.

Judy Karandjeff President

Sue Smith Director of Redistricting

Washington Post Sept. 22, 2017

FYI: Michigan Elections - Disclosure Division MANUALS:

Wisconsin Gerrymander case will be heard by US Supreme Court October 3

A Bit of Fun

The Terminator speaks about gerrymandering.

NPR Program "The 1A" on redistricting

April 3, 2017 program viewed the redistricting question from different viewpoints. Click HERE to go to their website. And be sure to take a look at the Gerrymandering Quiz/Rorshach test.

Guests were:
Justin Levitt Professor at Loyola Law School; former Deputy Assistant Attorney General in the Civil Rights Division of the U.S. Department of Justice; maintains the website 'All About Redistricting'
Michael Munger Professor of Political Science at Duke University
Kelly Ward Interim Executive Director of the National Democratic Redistricting Committee; former Executive Director of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC)
Chris Jankowski Republican strategist; former Executive Director of the REDMAP Project at the Republican State Leadership Committee


Regarding redistricting, LWVMI has received many calls and emails asking about what we are doing on redistricting. The League is committed to educating Michigan citizens about redistricting... We have a lot of materials and a video on the website: There is a lot of education that needs to happen prior to a ballot proposal campaign. The League has not developed or joined any ballot proposal campaign yet. The League does support the establishment of an independent redistricting commission. If anything changes, we will let you know immediately.


You may have heard about the Wisconsin lawsuit heading for Supreme Court review. It says the "efficiency gap" proves that current Wisconsin legislative districts are gerrymandered. But what, you wonder, is the efficiency gap? And what might it mean for Michigan?

A recent article in The Bridge (an on-line newsletter published by the Center for Michigan) describes the efficiency gap and what this calculation might mean for Michigan redistricting. Gerrymandering in Michigan is among the nation's worst, new test claims

Amend the U.S. Constitution to limit political gerrymanders? A recommendation by John Paul Stevens, Supreme Court Justice (ret)

U.S. Supreme Court Justice (retired) John Paul Stevens, in his 2014 book "Six Amendments: How and Why We Should Change the Constitution", addressed the problem of political gerrymandering, remarking "...I do not believe any judge has had anything good to say about partisan gerrymanders. There should, therefore, be overwhelming support for an amendment to the Constitution that merely requires federal judges to apply the same rules in cases challenging political gerrymanders that they have applied to racial gerrymanders. (p.43)"
Justice Stevens' suggested wording for an amendment:
Districts represented by members of Congress, or by members of any state legislative body, shall be compact and composed of contiguous territory. The state shall have the burden of justifying any departures from this requirement by reference to neutral criteria such as natural, political, or historic boundaries or demographic changes. The interest in enhancing or preserving the political power of the party in control of the state government is not such a neutral criterion.