League of Women Voters – Redistricting in Michigan

hello welcome to redistricting in Michigan the League of Women Voters Oakland area and the league of women voters of Michigan Education Fund is delighted to present this town hall my name is Deb Macon and I’m a resident of West Bloomfield it’s my privilege to introduce our speaker linderhof Linda serves in two roles within the league of women voters Linda is one of the newest vice presidents of the State Board governing all of the local leagues in the state of Michigan and at the same time she’s serving as the League of Women Voters president in Flint a number of years ago linda was one of the national level leaders to be part of developing League of Women Voters of the United States agricultural policy linda has a bachelor’s of science from Lawrence Technological University and a master of public administration from the Rahman graduate school through the University of michigan-flint Linda is a longtime advocate for women and girls and especially an environmental activist Linda is especially trained among many colleagues around the state to present town halls just like this in consortium with a number of Michigan nonprofits and organizations she will give a thorough introduction and also prepare for a question-and-answer session thank you so much for being here and with this Linda thank you so glad to see a growing number of people that keep entering so thank you thanks for coming to this town hall meeting i’m here as deb told you representing the league of women voters of Michigan the league if you are not aware of it right now is a nonpartisan organization we encourage informed and active participation of citizens in government this year we celebrated our 95th year as an organization and we hope to be around for another hundred unless of course miraculously there is no need for us the league does three types of activity in our election orient at work I usually use my hands for this we register new voters we publish voter guides we do an online information site called vote for 11 have any of you used our vote for 11 dot org few of you have if you haven’t been there check it out before the next elections too late today but we go online about 30 days before an election and you can check out everything that will be on your ballot every candidates running for elected office gets invited to participate so in that one we stay entirely nonpartisan on this hand we do our advocacy work so we study issues Deb told you I worked on the national group for our agriculture position update that was a huge huge undertaking and I learned so much and my diet has changed so much since I did it in any case this side over here after study after reaching consensus then we can advocate on issues of Public Policy and then there’s our education work right down the middle we try and bring a balanced approach of information to everybody so that you can make decisions that are in your best interest in how you feel society should be okay today we’re doing education so hopefully by the end of this presentation you think I did a fair job presenting some unbiased information so redistricting what is it you’re going to see I have to look at my script by the way this is a very regimented program that we put together and because we have a bunch of different speaker going all around the state we have a script that we’re trying to adhere to to make sure everybody gets the same message and i’m a terrible script reader i’m good off-the-cuff so sometimes i you’ll find me wandering a little bit ok so the lines from michigan’s US congressional whoops here we go congressional state Senate and House State House districts are reviewed and redrawn every ten years it’s following the national census after population shifts are identified and published redistricting is the process of drawing the lines for congressional legislative districts how district lines are drawn

determines which voters reside in what congressional legislative excuse me districts in Michigan we currently have 14 US congressional districts having lost one following the last census we also have 38 michigan senate seats and 110 Michigan House districts quote from Oregon says it succinctly when they say that redistricting is probably the most important political process in the decade that most people know too little about so we’re glad that you’re here tonight to learn a little bit more about redistricting so what laws govern how legislative maps are drawn federal laws well we have the Constitution so they basically focus federal laws focus on two key concepts one is that an equal number of persons need to live in each district and to that race and ethnicity are not substantially disrupted in a manner that deludes a minority voting power those those practices would be normally called cracking and packing we won’t get into that too much for the most part the laws are centered around the concept of equality and fairness for every citizen in 1964 the US Supreme Court established the one-person one-vote concept to apportionment that determines the number of persons in each district congressional districts within a state should be as equal as practicable to ensure that each person’s vote is weighted equally this Ollis deviations can be challenged in court and must be justified by the state challenges of less than 1% have been upheld in the US Supreme Court in 1980s New Jersey Court ruled that the state had not made a good faith effort to maintain population equality and so they had to redraw Alliance they were now population / representative this was asked earlier in the evening about how many representatives and I don’t this is terrible of me because I don’t remember how many we had when when we first started redistricting for the house or districting for the house but going from 1793 so that might have been the start then we had just under 30,000 people under each house district and at the time Congress thought that that should be the limit that it should be around 30,000 in 1913 it had gone up to two hundred and ten thousand and after the night 2010 census the ideal size for a Michigan district was seven hundred and six thousand plus a little bit so from 2000-2010 the US population saw seven percent increase but Michigan saw a point six percent drop that’s what caused us to lose a seat so state requirements vary concepts employed by state include contiguity 23 states say that your districts need to be contiguous can’t have breaking points you need to have compactness and you need to have community of interest Michigan laws I’m redistricting at night in 1996 public act 463 and public act 221 in 1999 set forth guidelines that are still used today current statutory guidelines for congressional and state legislative districts ask the district’s comprise convenient and contiguous territory that they break as few county city and township boundaries as reasonably possible I want to remember those terms when we get to the maps and that in the case of multiple districts within the city or township the districts are as compact as possible but the legislature may modify these statutes at any time at any time there were some guidelines regarding state legislative districts in the 1999 law that called for strict population equity upholding the Voting Rights Act preserving the political boundaries and contiguity compactness those same things but in 2001 legislators chose to make state guidelines non-binding and in 2002 the Michigan Supreme Court upheld that decision so the 1982 decision in 1963 Michigan Constitution established an eight-member Commission so we’ve already had an eight-member Commission already once in our history some of you may remember that for redistricting they had four persons from each party representing the eight anyone want to guess what happened does anybody remember what happened yeah they couldn’t come up with a decision they

kept ending in a tie and having to go to the courts so an article 7 section excuse me article 4 section 2 of the Michigan Constitution state constitution includes provisions of apportionment legislative districts are based on each County share of the state’s population and the state’s land area so in the 80s in 1982 after they couldn’t decide again on boundaries the court ended up ruling all of article 4 null and void because of that statement of the state’s land area so they said the premise of the argument and and the boundaries and the rules was null and void because of that after the one person one vote that we just discussed so they told the legislature if you want it fixed you need to fix it and here we are today in 2015 now oversight in Michigan it’s pretty simple governor can veto plans if he’s not happy he or if we ever get well we’ve had females all right he or she are not happy with the lines they’re generally along partisan lines that doesn’t surprise anybody but he does have the ability to veto lines and in the event that we can’t get agreement at the legislature it goes to the Supreme Court we know that very well because we’ve done it numerous times in our history so what are the problems with the current system if you haven’t figured it out yet partisan politicians manipulate the district lines the partisan nature of redistricting leaves a state with district lines drawn to consolidate political power rather than to group together citizens with common interests that was a quote from Nolan Finley of detroit news earlier this year allowing politicians to draw their own voting maps brings on all these according to the brennan center for justice at the New York University School of Law how we elect our representatives is how we run our government merica is a representative democracy which means how we put those representatives in office is essential to how our democracy works now this isn’t a new concept but before I give too much credence to mr. to Governor Jerry I want to point out that Patrick Henry in 1789 tried to draw a line so that he could exclude James Madison so he was the first instance that we saw way back in 1789 so political parties want political vantage for one party or another certainly it’s happened to Michigan the term gerrymander came because when Elbridge Gerry signed this map into law people thought it looked like a salamander thus the name gerrymandering it’s the process of identifying the lines to get a particular result here’s some examples that came by a person by the name of Stephen Nass and it was posted in the Washington Post it’s about as clear cut as you can get and how you can divide up a population and get different results so the first graphs to demonstrate a particular population sixty percent blue forty percent red that’s not meant to be political that’s just to give you a clear vision so the first graft is that the next example blue wins three and red wins two perfect representation nobody is alienated right then you go into the third example where the blue wins all five districts it’s compact but it’s not fair in the final example red wins three district and blue ones to neither fair nor compact does that make sense now this came from the New York Times article in 2013 following the last census and they took the nation you can see the outline of our country right and they identified the states that had the most severe gerrymandering going on the darker the color the more severe the gerrymander vote totals in the ten gerrymandered states were only seven percent more Republican than Democrat yet they resulted in seventy-six percent more Republican seats so overall those ten states created 109 Republican seats for Congress in 62 Democratic seats an ideal based on the actual population would have been 91 Republicans and 80 Democrats or an 18 seats shift just in those ten states so now in Michigan our congressional

districts if you look at competitiveness the safe seats break down there is there some data that was broken down I’m trying to see if I cited who did this I didn’t put a citation so I apologize basically the save seats defy competition so partisan decision-making made safe seats and of the Michigan’s congressional 14 seat delegation four seats were Democratic base of sixty percent or higher and nine seats were Democratic base of less than fifty percent ultimately you ended up with nine Republican and five Democrat safe seats that was based on less than fifty percent of the base of the opposing party but only thirty-six percent were safe seats and the safe seats were considered anywhere between 45 and 55 percent so right down the middle it was a fair competitive race so out of our 14 only five were actually considered competitive some of you happen to know this one I bet so our maps kind of change based on our audience this one’s an ideal map now I don’t know if anyone here thinks this is compact it is contiguous just barely but that’s what your district 14 looks like this this one would be considered a packed district this one you’re not really meant to see all the detail it’s just to show you what the what the district’s look like so these are your congressional districts and if you look at that one long skinny one that’s here in the thumb I should which way is May that there we go that’s that’s my district but the Detroit area looks far worse there’s your Detroit area again I’m going to guess that most people in this room know from experience what this looks like now congressional distribution it’s not a one-sided thing it’s the party that’s in power so you have a couple examples here once from 1992 when the Democrats controlled Texas the ideal thing that we’re trying to show here is in this instance the total votes for Congress were matched they were at forty-nine percent each but the seats one were by far different then in 2012 here in Michigan we had a similar kind of thing where we had 46 and 51% so we had more people voting democratic yet they only got five of the seats 5 of the Fourteenth seats and that’s because of how the maps were drawn so there’s a quick little look at whether or not we think this is a fair game so you’re going to see that the distribution of the seats one versus how how the votes were cast so in that US House in 2014 forty-nine percent of the vote went Democrat yet they only got five of the seats the State House there were forty eight percent 48.8 Republican yet they got 63 seats state Senate almost an even match on votes yet the seats one or by far different so there’s your Michigan Senate map so remember that our son dating we have 38 38 members of our Senate population varies from a little over two hundred and twelve thousand to two hundred and sixty three thousand in each district senators are elected the same time as the governor and serve a four-year term but their term limited at two terms so as you see you get more and more that you don’t see a lot of blatant stuff until you get into the severely populous areas and there you go there’s your metro detroit and the closer you get into detroit and around Detroit the worse it looks with pockets of other things going on like in Macomb County you got that little green island in the middle of that yellow all right when you look at the house you have 110 seats you see a whole lot more irregularity in your lines there are the populations range from 77,000 291

thousand residents you’re allowed to have a broader distribution in the state than you are in congressional seats congressional they want you to have as close to the actual population as possible in the state legislature you can have as much as the ten percent swing and it’s still considered okay so and from your ideal you can go five percent down or five percent up so you can have a ten percent swing in your population so I’ll as you all know representatives are selected on two-year terms and they are also term-limited after three terms and there’s your metro detroit districts again it helps if you see the maps I think so what happened in Michigan and what was the result so unlike the process that we’ve seen in California recently Michigan’s was not an open process the maps were drawn behind closed doors eventually they had the the legislature had two public meetings to present the maps the two meetings in total lasted an hour and a half and there was no public input allowed and no inputting or suggestions into maps they were just presented that was how our process was done in Michigan the Senate redistricting committee for Michigan had six Republicans and three Democrats the house read redistricting committee had six Republicans and three Democrats that’s putting the Fox in charge of the henhouse and League considers that a conflict of interest so redistricting can impact public policy so we’re going to show a couple of examples in education and transportation funding and how those are have been affected so here’s your education funding so you can see that over the years and we’re going we have to put a disclaimer here to be fair funding can change for a variety of reasons and we’ve seen the need for for funding changes in Michigan certainly but officials are responsible for deciding where the money goes and especially when it gets tight so the dotted line shows the inflation-adjusted spending that we do in education so while actual dollar amounts are almost where they were between 2003 to 2013 your real amount we all know that we live with inflation every day was eight dollars and 98 cents so our school still are struggling transportation is almost the same so you had to 16 22 17 but in real dollars that are flash and adjusted it’s a dollar 74 we all know what happened when prop one hit this last May twenty four point one percent of registered voters participated in that election so one quarter of our voters voted for 21 down and it’s because it was you can name the pundits have tossed it around and tossed it around but if you think about it it was a constitutional amendment and it was what we call a Christmas tree bill it had so many things onto it to try and get people to buy into it so this was we’re going to get into the ways you make a constitutional amendment change but in this case it was brought to us from the legislature but by the time they had to make all the little horse trades to get it to the people was so cumbersome that people just didn’t trust it and so they voted it down but one quarter of our population made that decision for the rest of us so other areas of public policy that are noticeably impacted environment one current example that right now is dealing with a regulation of solar energy Human Services our legislature has to decide how we’re going to fund healthcare voting rights and civil rights such as equal pay equal work elections and redistricting have consequences and the policies and budgets that are adapted why does redistricting matter if you care about representation and you care about political power then you should care about redistricting that’s a quote from the Brennan Center so the solution let me tell me how to do no change the rules so the process is fair transparent and impartial cash it doesn’t seem like it

should be that hard so for 95 years the League of Women Voters has stood up for the protection and equality of all voters so the range of redistricting options legislative and advisory commission and an independent commission those are pretty much the three basic forms and there’s hybrids that other states have come up with right now ours is the legislative option so in the legislative option the legislature committee creates the plan submits it in the form of a bill to the full low fat legislature after it gets final approval it goes to the governor where it either gets a signature or veto in the event of an impasse the Michigan in our case the Michigan Supreme Court has to get involved and has done so many times in Advisory Commission there are a number of examples of this option across the u.s. especially the Commission essentially the Commission drafts a plan but the legislature and the governor still need to approve it and an independent come mission different formulas but essentially non office holding citizens draw the maps and legislative approval is not required 27 states have legislative commissions there we are 17 states have advisory commissions six states have an independent commission and I’ve identified them this i’m going to show you the partisan because most people are amazed that four of those six with an independent commission are republican states only to our Democrat States Alaska has a five-member Commission where the governor appoints to the president of the Senate appoints one and the Speaker of the House of points 1 then the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court points1 at least one member must be a resident of each Judicial District and no member may be a public employee or official in Arizona they also have a five-member Commission the Commission on appellate court appointees creates a pool of twenty five nominees 10 from each of the two largest parties and five that are not a part of either of those two parties the highest-ranking officer the house appoints one from the pool then the majority leader of the house appoints one then the highest-ranking officer the Senate appoints one it goes on and on but it’s it’s a process that for Arizona works if the four deadlock in the end the for the fourth of the four appoint a fifth person from a pool of candidates and if there’s a deadlock than the Commission on appellate court appoints another chair so the fifth / the fifth person on that Arizona Commission gets appointed by the first for California’s a 14-member Commission that’s a relatively new one as well they were in 08 they’ve been through one map drawing they’ve learned a lot in California and we’ve learned from them yeah they’re fourteen members 50 Republican five or Democrats and four are from neither party the interesting thing about California is they had 36,000 people apply to be part of that Commission they had 100 public hearings in 38 cities over eight months they allowed 20,000 comments from the public and groups and there were no private meetings the map making was all done at Open Meetings goes on and on I can tell you more stories but we don’t have time for those so if anybody wants more of the stories let me know so the results in California which has an independent process voters by a margin of two to one favor the new process 2012 there’s a significant turnover of elected offices yet the partisan ratio did not change I look this up because this this presentation is very dynamic because it changes as we do things and people ask us questions let me go back and we look them all up so in 2012 or excuse me in 2010 there were 28 Republicans and 52 Democrats now count that up that’s 80 seats Michigan we have a hundred and ten State House seats California’s big as it is only has 80 they have the largest in the nation anyway currently there are 28 Republicans and 52 Democrats so it didn’t change the outcome but what it did do is it brought more people engaged in the process it brought about more compact districts and fairer districts

did you change the partisan makeup though which I find amazing that it didn’t touch that at all ok Arizona that’s what spurred all this on with the education meetings across the state because that that ruling came this year so in two thousand Arizona voters approved an amendment to the Constitution that established the citizens independent redistricting legislators didn’t think that was very fair so they sued and they just won the citizens one in the Supreme Court this June Supreme Court said it so is so acting Arizona voters sought to restore the core principle of republican government that the voters should choose the representative not the other way around that came out of the courts so we can’t even claim our own catch lane representative democracy these came out of of all things study calm but I found a very telling so there has to be an opportunity for genuine competition in the selection of leadership if people think that it’s elections are rigged or pre determined that there can be no meaningfully honest competition they don’t tend to show up to vote second there has to be free communication among the people in the press and third the voters have to believe that a meaningful choice exists so you have to have competitive districts and then I’ll go back to this for a second Michigan radio did a poll back in August and there were 600 people in their poles so probably you know I don’t know what the standard deviation there was of it but they asked about redistricting satisfied with the current system forty-eight percent said they were satisfying somewhat or very unsatisfied thirty-seven percent sixty-seven percent said to political twenty one percent said it was okay and sixty-three percent supported an independent commission the goal these are kind of lofty we want to make sure every vote counts we want to make sure every voter has a voice that our elections represent what the people want and that our government truly represents us now how to change redistricting there’s two ways to do it both require constitutional amendment the first would be a legislative proposal that our current legislature or whatever at that time decides they can actually get together and work on a solution and then put it in front of the IC the men laughing in the back yes and put it in front of the voters for a yay or a nay that didn’t work too well earlier this year and just our roads or you have a citizen driven initiative and she here still the person who is doing the signatures oh yeah so we’re having that outside so we had somebody doing the petition so a petition drive petition drive to put it on the statewide ballot would require four hundred thousand signatures so it has to show a true commitment from the people I’m kind of anxious because it’s on Ohio’s ballot today Ohio is voting on an independent redistricting I’m anxious to see how that that works out okay just for the record California’s initiative passed in 2008 Arizona’s passed in two thousand Washington State’s passed in nineteen eighty-two and Idaho Montana 1994 so the League of Women Voters we do have a position and this is an educational event so in the interest of full disclosure and so people can’t come back and say oh they had an agenda we’re letting you know right up front we actually do have a position on this so we’re just letting you know that it’s there in summary partisan politicians manipulate elections keeps themselves in their party in power that’s conflict of interest the process of drying ma’am should be transparent impartial and fair when we vote we want our elections to be fair our votes to count and our voices to be heard what can you do well when you came in today there was a sign in sheet that’s being kept at the local league level and

then there were sign-up sheets so if you want to be part of a campaign just to be informed you can even just write that down so you can write letters to the editor you can post on Facebook you can make phone calls and you can knock on doors and you can learn more so after the middle of this month our video should be online I don’t know when this video is going to be online ours will be online at the F second half of this month though but citizens Research Council has a lot of information that you’ll find accessible reading it’s not real complicated it’s not full of legalese if you either way whether you think that this is great and you want to share that with the world or whether you think it’s a pile of monk you can tell that to the world that’s the whole point of doing an educational campaign and then just because I tend to over research everything Loyola Law School has an all about redistricting page now the professor that’s in charge of this page is actually on hiatus right now but a lot of information still stands and these are all resources that he gives on that page where if you want more information you can get it but he highlights Department of Justice Census Bureau and the brennan center for justice is the three key places to look so I want to thank you for giving me this opportunity to speak and I want to entertain any questions that you might have hand up at the ready look at that don’t make them too hard to a clock at night I’m tired yeah why the estimate for costs go ahead you want that a mic I wonder what the average cost of putting an item on a statewide ballot would be that’s estimated be ten million dollars last week someone asked how much money the league was giving I said do you know how broke we are we’re a grassroots organization we had two million dollars who knows what we do with it I could just think of all kinds of fun stuff you have two questions back there right no there is not a petition drive right now on redistricting I was just pointing that I was an example that that’s how it’s done that’s how a citizen driven initiative gets on the ballot just that way right behind her too i’m in favor of this bolt when you get less than ten percent the university today on what percentage was i would guess it’s in two thousand ten percent almost every case so this is all going too well no i totally agree with you on that when you have to get out and change it people have to be the question is our people mad enough that they want things different do you want things to change and the question might be I don’t know you know that’s what I came heard of doing these yeah I came here for a reason because i am with with what what politicians did I / Republican I should be boating that way with novi okay my Republican but instead what the politicians did was was gave the Democrats you know all the crown and everything which is wrong gerrymandering is the wrong thing to do we must change this I would like to know how to do this how to change it how to give it back to Republican right yes a comment and a question I think ferrer redistricting would also help move a lot of the candidates to the center because right now if if you’re in a safe district and you have to win the primary and the best way to when the primary is to be more extreme conservative than a conservative district and more liberal in a liberal district but if you also have to worry about winning the general election then you can’t go too far to either end and still hope to win the general elections I think that’s a big plus my question is there’s a certain amount of sort of what you might call natural gerrymandering because of the concentration of Democrats in a large urban areas and so some people have said that nationally

even if we got rid of gerrymandering probably the house the federal house would remain Republican and the Senate would remain Democrat just based on the number of voters in each state but also the distribution across urban and suburban areas so has anybody looked at that for Michigan how much sort of natural gerrymandering would would end up causing a concentration of Democratic voters in the large urban areas and therefore cause some of these statistics to still not work out the way you think they should even with fairly district no we really haven’t done a concentrated study on it but what we have but what you know to your point you do have certain concentrations but those concentrations are something that people for the most part make a choice where they want to live and so if you have those competitive districts if you keep those districts compact but you still have a certain population that you have to reach you’re going to pick up some periphery things right so you and when you have to go in and delve and break up a community you’re supposed to minimize that disruption so by definition you would make some of those the way the way it’s supposed to be done you would have of that blending and hybridization going on by sheer volume of people does that make sense but when you look at district 14 that’s not what happened that’s not what happened so the our whole goal right here is to make them follow what their own rules have said and to make to make our districts competitive so that the people are actually voting for the representatives and the representatives are accountable to their people because we don’t have that when we don’t have competitive districts when you have five out of 14 that are competitive you don’t have people that have to respond to their voters hi how are you I have two questions the first question is I know there is no bail initiative right now with regards to redistricting is there any effort out there that you know right now that is going to fund try to fund a balun ish ative for 2016 there are a lot of rumblings the league has not made any commitment and these other groups I think a lot of these groups are kind of waiting to see how these education campaigns we’re not the only one doing them either common causes doing some a couple other groups I think are doing campaigns across the state educational ones ours are focused entirely on redistricting that’s our that’s our big initiative this year there are people who want to see change but I think they have to see that their support for it as we said that’s four hundred thousand signatures and ten million dollars it’s an investment but yeah there’s no decision that although I’m told that there should be something after the first year if a decision is going to be made it’ll be made after the first of the year okay and my second question was i noticed i think you said 37 states have the same process that we do with regards to our legislature legislators deciding our districts why is it here that Michigan I notice is one of the worst states with regards to gerrymandering opposed some of the other 37 states that use the same process so the 27 states that have the legislative districts it’s really Amelia you have ten that our severely gerrymandered actually I think there were six that were on the severe list may be in for three or four that ran the not as severe list I think that some just have a different kind of ethic that they go about it with they just respond differently if the houses are divided sure but when you’re doing the research and you’re reading about each of these states which my mind at this age doesn’t like log at all a lot of them put in different kind of ethical things that can and cannot be done and they actually adhere to them for the most part which is kind of a neat concept and my question is kind of piggyback gin and would he had asked about an initiative actually starting and you said most likely the first of the year now will it be a group like you mentioned common cause is I mean where does initiative how does it happen what I think well and I can’t speak entirely to it because I’m not person that’s involved in that my impression is and what I’ve seen with others and you’ll tell me too on the ban fracking initiative is it’s a coalition of groups that that put forth so they work and they combined their resources to educate

the public because each one of us each one of the groups has a different niche market that we that we talk to and that we interact with so you’d find that it would be a coalition of groups so again i want to say though so that you can stay in the loop if you’re interested in staying in the loop fill out the form and at least put your email on there and they won’t harass you on other things they’ll just talk to you about what’s going on with redistricting so you’re staying in the loop on that of this will certainly be putting out press releases as soon as the decisions made to oh that’s not it that’s not a League decision to make okay of the states that are the same as Michigan and although Michigan seems to be the worst of them all how many of these states if you know are governed by term limits that I don’t know off the top of my head I don’t even you might even know that question with this form whoops with this form I understand the first two I want to be kept in forum where I’ll write a letter to the editor but phone calls to whom and knock on doors for what that those are those are all standard practices in any initiative so if an initiative does happen you’d be part of a database of people that would be contacted mm-hmm and you had a question up here too right did that get answered okay so I think she’s got the micro someone else but we’ll come up to you okay I’ve never been to a league of women women voters meeting before but I’m angry about an esoteric issue that some of you may think about and I’m curious as to how the how one it happens to be the changes that were made to the Michigan nonprofit corporation act and a lame duck session of the legislature last year on December 14th the governor signed it on December 31 and it affects every nonprofit corporation and I’m involved in representing community associations condos and cooperatives and homeowner associations and the changes were absolutely in my opinion heinous and they were designed to benefit insurance companies and developers primarily okay and how would i get the league of women voters or somebody like that to to be aware because there were note there was no real public testimony the whole real property section of the state fire and people and community association law knew nothing about this it just got passed in the in the darkness of december and and i’m trying to let people know and I’ve written the governor’s assistant and you know how do you raise hell so to speak how do you get the league for example be interested in something that affects tens of thousands of people that live in a subdivision or a community association or a condo it’s my question well I’m going to say it’s a little off topic from redistricting but I feel your pain that same lame lame duck session and mm-hmm so we’re gonna but that’s what I’m going to say the response to that is is if your legislators had to respond to you and report to you and we’re accountable to you as citizens you would find less of those shenanigans but but that goes into redistricting that goes into money and politics those are all issues the league is looking at right now they’re all issues that we investigate they’re all issues that we do end up being for as well thank you that was my next line we do have men in the league as a matter of fact I wanted to get my colleagues attention to say exactly that the League of Women Voters process is that those of us who live right in the community meet just as this and create our lists of action items that we forward to the state leaders who include Linda and Eva Packard I did serve in that role at one point so there is a process so please make sure Eva and Linda have your contact information to do exactly that and like most grassroots organizations you know sometimes our priorities change based on the passion of the people that are active so my passions our environment and education and children and girls so those are big on my list now I still look at other

things but those are my passion so I’m human what am I going to prioritize right so if you want to join the league and get involved with us we’re happy to have you we’re happy to have any one of you here tonight yes ma’am yeah just one quick question in the redistricting gerrymandering efforts what sources of information do they use to identify the party affiliations of a particular populace do you know there are a lot of places where you if you are a member of a political party and it’s reported I don’t want how you I don’t know if it’s appropriate to tell you that i tend to consider myself an independent but in my in my own home district I’m listed as a Republican and I don’t know how that happened I think even told me once that it was probably because when we used to have the partisan kind of when you had to pick a ballot I must have picked a Republican ballot see so I don’t really even so for years and years and years but you know whatever I liked him for all information so I stay on it but they track all that stuff those are all above my pay grade I’ve been asked to repeat that in the microphone your political party the one election in Michigan that where you have to declare a party is the presidential primary not always but we have in the past and so when we when you declare that that went into a public record and the parties know it and i can tell you today i got a call from one of the political parties about voting in my local election for candidates of that political party and I think yeah and I might be dating myself here and it could be my mind is going but it seems like at one point in history we did actually had to go in and ask for either Republican ballot or a Democrat ballot and I think that might have tipped something I don’t know I don’t know hi don’t actually have a question but I do have the answer that you need do you have an anti-ha I love answers see I look at the redistricting as a mathematical process rather than a political one although getting to be changes that would be completely political that sounds on my skill set but as far as getting in fares so there’s no gerrymandering that has a simple mathematical solution in addition to the federal law that you have to meet and the rule would be that you know they have to be continuation to have the equal population and so on but the rule that makes it you can determine one’s fair and ones not or more fair is by adding up the perimeter distances for the congressional districts and anybody can submit a plan League of Women Voters the Democrats Republicans newspapers college professors there go to some part of the state maybe the Secretary of State’s office or an independent commission and they would look at all of them check the numbers and then they would pick the one with the smallest perimeter distance because that will guarantee absolutely that you get under remanded districts now federal law says you got to do a little bit because of the Voting Rights Act but still as long as you meet federal laws the commission would pick the plan that has the minimum perimeter distance district minimum perimeter distances no matter who submits it and it would all be public it would be on a website anybody could look at it and check out lots of people’s eyes would be all over this thing and if anybody makes a miscalculation of course I’m sure there would be a mention of it so the thing is that once the minimum plan is presented to the public and everybody can see all the plans and see their relative perimeter distances the state would be required to take the one with the memo because anytime you Jerry man your district you put little curlicues and extensions from projections that always increases the perimeter distance every time basic geometry as a mathematician and physicist i can see that i always like to get down to the essence of thing but i think we should put all the mathematicians and engineers and GIS people all in a room and not let them out so they have a plan but we in the back yes you brought up an interesting topic there California is much bigger than Michigan it has less representatives in an order of cost-cutting would it be better to eliminate some of the districts and maybe put everybody into one house and then allow them to vote we would have well it’s the other guy on the other in the Senate or the representative just

have one they make up their mind would we be bit better off it would be a cost savings on top of that because I know the people in the landscape want to save money perhaps but if you think I mean the whole point of having representatives and in the size that we have them is so that we actually have people who are supposedly they’re representing our interests in our little pocket of the world right that’s the whole point of having them I’ve got to go to our diverse another question you had mentioned the various groups that were involved in looking into the redistricting likes a common cause I’ve been getting a lot of emails from the Democratic Party and related organizations but partisan in this effort for redistricting now is that is that what is that I mean how does that is it within actually I just heard about that group last week so mostly I stay out of partisan politics in my role as president of any League you’re not allowed to be partisan ever that’s just one of the things we have to agree to and then my role at the state i can so i purposely kind of like turn a blind eye to it’s the only way i can keep from getting sucked down that vortex but i did hear about that group last week they’re out there there are many of them in illinois where the democrats have the majority they’re crying for the league support there because they think it’s unfair so it all comes down to the party that’s in the minority they don’t like it it doesn’t feel good to be the person that the by the pile could could a party conceivably be a legitimate support for a no not really it is my like it well in our discussions the reality is do you think if if the league and whatever other groups that would be part of a coalition went together with one part you do you think the other party whatever you know the whole point is a solution has to be a bipartisan has to be blind to party Impala partisan politics if it’s going to actually pass and be successful so we all have to put those blinders on and say what’s right for the people what’s right for the people she’s coming with your mic meeting with my state senator a couple weeks ago at a coffee thing and I mentioned to him about the redistricting oh and he’s a conservative Republican of course oh that’s that’s the Democrats you know and he was completely and utterly opposed to it the second thing you mentioned Nolan Finley and we know where he stands on most issues is he in support of this you’re going to not I don’t I don’t read that paper and my neck of the woods so much so go ahead I’m going to defer to Eva because Nolan Finley did put it I did write an article and you had a quote from him in there you know basically saying that we needed to do a reverse the king should be impartial he did he did do that I mean you are well because the reality is he’s an individual and he wants his vote to count I mean we I won’t everyone he asked you to tell me if you voted today but today was election day you know you talked about it Oh see I have one thing on my ballot but I wit and I voted by golly and and and I’m going to tell you a story my daughter who lives down in Dearborn l contacted me yesterday because she went on vote for when why don’t you keep getting an error message she didn’t realize they had nothing on their ballot different heights did but not dearborn she’s gone seriously I’m nothing on my ballot so that’s okay I said don’t worry next year be a biggie I don’t know the history I have a feeling it’s going to be something what we’ve got right now people got so fed up that because it was a citizen driven and ironically and I can’t give you it’s somewhere buried in my notes each of the places where an independent commission has been voted on has varied some of them were citizen driven somewhere legislative somewhere the hybrid approach where the citizens started initiative and the legislature said well we better do something quick before it gets past you know so there’s been any number of ways they’ve passed it’s a matter of what works it takes an angry mass that says enough you know enough that’s what we’re trying to find out is the mass there you know we got to make sure you know people don’t understand what redistricting this just seems like above their pay grade and in our busy lives we don’t want to be involved in

one more thing of chaos in the states that had the redistricting by the Independent they made the changes was dessert any statistics that are saying that there’s a greater voter turnout after the changes amazingly i’m seeing varied results because in some of those states to like Washington has also got vote by mail so they get they think they get voter better voter turnout because they have that so there’s there’s other things that are involved into it and I’ve seen the numbers fluctuating so I haven’t I haven’t sat down I need have this gentleman here sit down to a mathematical analysis for me I think the numbers yeah the whole point is it’s not just that though the poll point is do you feel represented do you feel that your vote matters it’s going to be interesting to see what the young population does the Millennials in this next election you know you brought up about voting by mail if we went to know absentee voting you would get a greater percentage of people out there voting but again my senator very conservative all no no no you know I won’t lie I won’t lie about I lied for years to vote absentee because I gave me a chance to sit there and study the ballot which people don’t have who wants to go stand in that line have all those people handing you that literature if you don’t know who you’re going to vote for by then high 5i should I on the gauntlet man I never understand you should have no absentee voting with their well there have been another bills introduced this year I think six different bills introduced for no absentee but they’ve all been introduced by Democrats and so you know there are lines that have been introduced and for instance by the secretary of state Republican Secretary of State too she has oh that’s true that’s true there was that one thank you for reminding me but unfortunately they haven’t gone anywhere so did we answers did you all learn something new tonight I hope it will be by the end of the month it’ll be at LW vmi org and I think that you’re streaming it through your local cable correct well actually I want to thank Civic Center TV which is going recording this program tonight and they will be streaming it online you can look at Civic Center tv.com and it will be up by the end of the week so this presentation will be available online and I assume also on the local cable if you live in the one of the communities in the West Bloomfield Civic Center TV I want to also thank besides state thanking civic center TV want to thank the library for hosting this event I’d like to thank Linda for coming down from Flint to make this very informative presentation and in a very important presentation if we really want fair representation and finally I want to thank those of you who are here today and came to hear this and as you know when you came in you’ve got two handouts one of them allows you to indicate that you’re interested in learning more or to indicate the level of interest that you have and and let it let the league know and please leave it at on the desk at the back if when you fill it out thank you very much to everybody you