We live in times of quick change. We also live in a time when fact and opinion are often confused and perception of a “narrative” shape public opinion. The goal today is: who can tell his story (with its elements of untruth) most convincingly? When looking for the actual text of the laws and constitutional amendments we will enact, it is easy to find summaries. I will give you the website addresses where you can read the actual full text of these proposals for yourself.
All three of these have a “one-sided” approach to the issue. Any future changes to these would need a super-majority of both houses, which is almost impossible. Because of these two reasons, my first natural decision would be to vote “NO” on all three ballot proposals unless there is overwhelming need for the change.
The address for the full text of Proposal 1 https://www.michigan.gov/documents/sos/Full_Text_-_CRMLA_635255_7.pdf
This is completely new legislation so there are no specific changes listed to existing law. The understanding is that this law takes precedence over any existing law contrary to this language. I have already given an overview of that proposal in a previous article.
The address for the full text of Proposal 2 https://www.michigan.gov/documents/sos/Full_Text_-_VNP_635257_7.pdf
Proposals 2 and 3 are amendments to the constitution. When you read these documents, the print in regular font is the original text that is not changed. Text that has the strike through (this text is the present law) is what is being changed and eliminated. The text that is in all caps (THIS IS THE NEW TEXT TO BE ADDED) are the changes that you will be voting on.
The text of this ballot proposal is gerrymandering at its worst. These “communities of interest” (which are not defined) insures a new “non-partisan” gerrymandering. This bill is falsely claiming to eliminate gerrymandering. Read this section of the amendment and judge for yourself.
- C. DISTRICTS SHALL REFLECT THE STATE’S DIVERSE POPULATION AND COMMUNITIES OF INTEREST. COMMUNITIES OF INTEREST MAY INCLUDE, BUT SHALL NOT BE LIMITED TO, POPULATIONS THAT SHARE CULTURAL OR HISTORICAL CHARACTERISTICS OR ECONOMIC INTEREST. COMMUNITIES OF INTEREST DO NOT INCLUDE RELATIONSHIPS WITH POLITICAL PARTIES, INCUMBENTS, OR POLITICAL CANDIDATES.
To me this is legalized gerrymandering. Who will decide how much advantage these “communities of interest” will receive under this undefined section.
13D DISTRICTS SHALL NOT PROVIDE A DISPROPORTIONATE ADVANTAGE TO ANY POLITICAL PARTY. A DISPROPORTIONATE ADVANTAGE TO A POLITICAL PARTY SHALL BE DETERMINED USING ACCEPTED MEASURES OF PARTISAN FAIRNESS.
A majority of districts by this “fairness” doctrine could be drawn with the advantage to one point of view. Can a district in Detroit be drawn to not advantage one side or can a district be drawn in Livingston to not advantage the other side?
Changes in Section 1 limit the full authority of the legislature as the sole legislative body in Michigan.
Changes in Section 2 and 3 eliminate the counties as the first consideration in drawing the district lines. Livingston now has 3 voices in Lansing. The new boundaries would most likely divide Livingston to be part of an Ingham County district on the west, part of a Genesee County district on the north. part of an Oakland county district on the east and part of a Washtenaw district on the South. Livingston would be lucky to have one dedicated representative.
These sections will also make both the senate and the house based on population only. The cities and their concerns will dominate both houses in Lansing and the rural and upper peninsula points of view will likely be lost forever. This is not a good prospect for the unity of the state. Presently the senate has a little different criteria for districting so that you have the possibility of at least two different points of view between the two chambers.
Section 6 gives this unelected commission the place of a “permanent legislative committee in the legislative branch.” This is also undefined in the proposal. What powers will this committee have? Their work cannot be questioned or changed in the smallest way by your elected legislators or Governor and only in a limited way by the courts
Section 6.2 Puts the Secretary of State in charge of the whole process of choosing the members. This power could at sometime in the future be misused.
The address for the full text of proposal 3
I fully support the right for everyone to vote…once. Voter fraud like double voting or voting by non-citizens should be verifiably prohibited. This has the most merit of all three but registering by mail (without a personal appearance) seems problematic. Same day registration and voting up to and including the day of an election also seems to open the door for undetectable fraud. Provisional ballots now take care of this problem of people wanting to vote when they for some reason are not on the voter registration list. These ballots must have the proper authentication before they are actually counted.
We as citizens have been given this right to legislate directly. If you expect your representative to read and be informed before they vote, you should expect the same of yourself. Read them through before you vote. A good representative thinks not only of himself, but also of the long-term effects of his/her vote on the whole community.
Doug Helzerman County Commissioner