Need new system for voting districts

Doesn’t it seem like our democracy is broken? Why is it newsworthy when a legislator from one party has lunch with one from another party? Why do they take such strong positions on either end of the spectrum, with little if any compromise?

These questions bother me. I think part of the problem is gerrymandering — the process of allowing the party in power to redraw voting district boundaries to favor their party. This process occurs every 10 years after a census. While this has been done for years, new computer technology has allowed politicians to manipulate drawing the boundaries, down to each street and each voter.

This enables the party in power to spread out or concentrate opposition voters to their advantage. In many districts, the candidate of the party in power cannot lose, moving the real election to the primaries. Here, the candidates have to only appeal to and advocate for their base and not to the general population. This results in a legislature representing the extreme positions of their parties. Even strong opposition incumbents have been moved to districts where they stand no chance of re-election.

Your vote may not count because the politicians are selecting their voters. This system hurts our democracy.

This tactic of partisan redistricting exists in most states and is used by Democrats and Republicans alike. It happens in Michigan and it can be changed to allow a fair, independent and transparent commission to redraw the district lines.

To make this change, a non-partisan volunteer group called Voters Not Politicians has been formed. They are now circulating petitions for a constitutional amendment to be placed on the November 2018 ballot.

I support this change, as I believe it is one step toward fixing our democracy and one step toward legislators who represent all of us and not just the extremes of their party. If you agree, go to the Voters Not Politicians web site at votersnotpolitician.com.

Petitions also will be available to sign at the Dickinson County Library from noon to 2 p.m. and 5 to 7 p.m. Wednesday, plus Dec. 6 and 13.

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