Concerns over gerrymandering and other voter-related issues when it comes to redistricting in Michigan’s Great Southwest will take center stage this coming week when the League of Women Voters of Berrien and Cass Counties stage a public forum at the St. Joseph Public Library.
The League will host their public forum on redistricting in the Norris Room at the St. Joseph Public Library at 2:30 pm on Wednesday, July 11th. The featured speaker will be Margaret Leary, retired Director of the University of Michigan Law Library.
Redistricting contains many complicated matters, and at the July 11 forum, Ms. Leary will help clarify them so that when voters go to the polls in November, they will have a better understanding of the issues and can vote for or against a proposal that may determine how redistricting will take place after the 2020 census when congressional districts will be redrawn consistent with shifts in population reflected in census data.
The subject of redistricting also looms large this year for other key reasons. Some states likely will gain seats in the U.S. House of Representatives, and other states will lose them. Even states that neither lose nor gain seats, however, will draw new lines so that their population is distributed among districts in roughly equal numbers. At least that is the stated goal.
The party that has control of a state’s legislature generally has control of the redistricting process, and when it exercises that control to draw distorted districts with the goal of protecting or enhancing its own political position, redistricting becomes gerrymandering—a term that has significant political currency this year because cases raising the issue are pending in several courts throughout the nation, including at the U.S. Supreme Court and a Federal District Court in Michigan, and because the group Voters Not Politicians is working to put on the ballot in November a proposed amendment to the Michigan Constitution that would take control of redistricting away from the legislature.
The public is invited to attend this event for an opportunity to gain understanding of the important issues of redistricting and gerrymandering. Additionally, there will be the invitation to a glass of iced tea, and a cookie or two as refreshments.
The League of Women Voters, a nonpartisan political organization, encourages informed and active participation in government, works to increase understanding of major public policy issues, and influences public policy through education and advocacy.