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Voters Not Politicians

Voters Not Politicians defends and promotes policies which strengthen democracy. Michigan's government must truly represent the will of the people, all votes must count equally, and all voices must be heard. Our representatives must not be unduly influenced by lobbyists or special interests or motivated by personal gain.
News. Community. Debate. Levers for better democracy.

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Republicans sue to stop Michigan voters' gerrymander reform

Republicans have gone to federal court in a bid to prevent creation of an independent commission to draw Michigan's electoral maps, which voters ordered up last year in order to thwart partisan gerrymandering.

The plaintiffs in a lawsuit filed Tuesday are challenging eligibility guidelines that prohibit politicians and their families from sitting on the panel, saying those rules violate the free speech and equal protection rights of potential applicants to serve.

In a landmark referendum approved with 61 percent support last fall, Michiganders voted to turn congressional and state legislative redistricting for the next decade over to a new panel of four self-identified Democrats, four self-identified Republicans and five unaffiliated members.

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Katie Fahey

Katie Fahey speaks at a Michigan rally against gerrymandering.

Meet the reformer: 10 questions with Katie Fahey

Katie Fahey is not a fan of politics, but that hasn't stopped her from scoring one of the biggest political upsets in recent years.

Just a few years out of college and working in Grand Rapids for a nonprofit promoting recycling, the Michigan native never intended to get involved in politics. But her frustration with the system reached a tipping point with the 2016 election. Two days later, she took to Facebook with a simple message: "I'd like to take on gerrymandering in Michigan. If you're interested in doing this as well, please let me know."

Several dozen people responded, and soon her group Voters Not Politicians was born. Ultimately, it gathered 425,000 signatures to get an initiative on the ballot last year calling for an independent commission to draw the state's electoral districts in place of the legislature. Despite opposition led by the Michigan Chamber of Commerce, it was approved with 61 percent of the statewide vote.

The victory has made her something of a folk hero in the world of democracy reform, and she was flooded with calls from others hoping to similarly leverage grassroots activism. Now 30, she has recently created and is executive director of The People, a national group that aims to educate and galvanize people around reform issues. (Her co-founders are Andrew Shue of and conservative pollster Frank Luntz.) She has also joined the board of the bipartisan democracy reform group Issue One (which is incubating, but journalistically independent from, The Fulcrum.)

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