Schwarzenegger, Levin Join Common Cause in Brief Supporting Michigan Redistricting Ballot Initiative

On Tuesday, Common Cause joined with former Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R-CA) and former U.S. Sen. Carl Levin (D-MI) in filing a brief in the Michigan Supreme Court supporting Michigan’s ballot measure proposal to reform the state’s redistricting process. Reform opponents are attempting to prevent Michiganders from voting on the initiative by keeping it off the November ballot. The “Voters Not Politicians” proposal would create a citizen commission to redraw congressional and state legislative districts after the census each decade.

The brief focuses on the problems of abusive partisan gerrymanders by both Democratic and Republican controlled legislatures across the country, legal challenges to partisan gerrymanders, and the success of citizen-driven redistricting reforms across the country, including successful citizens commissions similar to the one proposed in Michigan.

“Voters around the country are rising up against the scam of partisan gerrymandering,” said former Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger. “While entrenched partisan interests from both sides defend the status quo of politicians picking their voters instead of voters choosing their politicians, citizens in many states are saying enough is enough. California’s independent redistricting commission has given our voters more confidence in their representation, and voters in Michigan – and every state around the country – should have the same right to demand fair maps.”

“Partisan gerrymandering undermines our democracy by reducing bipartisan cooperation and increasing public cynicism about the political process,” said former Sen. Carl Levin. “I endorsed the Voters Not Politicians ballot initiative to give Michiganders a voice in assuring fair representation. More than 425,000 citizens signed petitions to place this important initiative on the ballot, so I sincerely hope the Michigan Supreme Court will give voters a chance to fix our broken redistricting process.”

“In a democracy, voters should be choosing politicians and politicians should have no business handpicking their voters,” said Karen Hobert Flynn, president of Common Cause. “Michigan voters should have the choice on Election Day to remove politicians from the redistricting process and make the drawing of congressional and legislative districts a process of, by, and for the people. Voters understand the system is broken and they should be given the opportunity to choose ‘Voters Not Politicians’.”

“Citizens across the country have grown tired of waiting for Congress to fix the problem of partisan gerrymandering and they have taken matters into their own hands by passing reforms from California to Florida,” said Kathay Feng, Common Cause national redistricting director. “Common Cause has played an integral role in many of the fights to pass reforms in the states and we will continue to do so going forward.”

Gov. Schwarzenegger, Sen. Levin, and Common Cause are represented by Emmet J. Bondurant and Benjamin W. Thorpe of Bondurant Mixon & Elmore and Jonathan B. Frank of Maddin, Hauser, Roth & Heller.

To read the brief, click here.