Voters Not Politicians hosted watch parties across the state. Region 6, which represented much of mid-Michigan, hosted its party at Reno’s East on Election Night. The communications coordinator for the region, Kathleen Snyder, was one of many celebrating.
Snyder does much of the communication for the group, through email and to the media. She was confident heading into the evening that the proposition would pass. She spoke confidently about the role that the commission will take and the timeline for its integration.
“The voting districts are drawn after the census is taken every 10 years,” Snyder said. “So when this passes there will be around two years before it goes into effect.”
She expects legal action will come shortly after the proposition passes. She estimated the cost to implement the commission to be around $4 million, but said the cost per person in the state would come to around 11 cents per year.
By gerrymandering, the party in control of Michigan’s House of Representatives draws voting districts to carve out advantages for themselves and their party. Proposition 2 creates a 13-member commission with four Republicans, four Democrats and five third-party or independent representatives.“Even if this doesn’t pass, this is a group that won’t stand for that,” Snyder said. “We will work to get it on the ballot in 2020 if it doesn’t pass.”
David Hopkinson, field director and organizer for Region 6 was at the party. He is one of three field directors in the region.
When the proposition was being drafted and signatures gathered, there were two groups working on it. Count My Vote was working on the ballot language while Voters Not Politicians was working more in the field. At the end of canvassing and double-checking petitions to put the measure on the ballot, the group had received 428,000 signatures in 110 days.
“We really wanted this to be Proposition 1,” Hopkinson said. “We turned our proposition in first, but they made weed Prop 1 and I think that was actually a good thing. When the first proposition is one people want to vote yes on, I think they are more likely to vote yes on the rest.”
Shari Rose, the statewide education chair for the group, said she was impressed by its work.“This is the most remarkable grassroots effort I have ever seen,” Rose said.
She helped put on more than 800 education sessions to help people understand the proposition as well as what gerrymandering is.
“Even when we talked to college students, only about 50 percent even knew what gerrymandering was,” Rose said.
She praised the group because it included people from multiple walks of life working toward a common goal.