DETROIT – The first step in what would be a seismic shift in how Michigan residents vote went down in Lansing on Monday.
A group calling itself Voters Not Politicians has turned in more than 425,000 signatures with the goal of asking voters whether they want to completely change how the state draws its political maps.
The group turned in all the signatures required, and some 100,000 extra signatures as padding.
What the group wants is a ballot proposal to appear in 2018 that asks voters if they are in favor of letting a citizen's commission composed of independents, Democrats and Republicans who aren't professional politicians to draw the maps deciding where the boundaries are for political districts.
"The system literally could not get worse," Katie Fahey said. "It's completely partisan. It goes behind closed doors. There is no citizen involvement, and ours is doing the exact opposite."
The Michigan Legislature currently draws the political boundaries with the party in power in charge of the map. There are legal standards the maps must adhere to.
"They are accountable to the voters of this state," said Jamie Roe, who is with Citizens Protecting Michigan’s Constitution. "This group, picked by the secretary of state, is going to be accountable to nobody."
The ballot proposal would cut the Legislature out, letting a citizens' commission draw the maps and reach a consensus. The group said that would protect Michigan's constitution.
The group members are appointed, not elected. Voters would ultimately vote on if the signatures handed in Monday are deemed to be valid to be put on a ballot proposal.
"This group, if you look at their leadership structure, is a bunch of disgruntled Democrats who are unable to win elections," Jamie Roe said.
You can watch Mara MacDonald's full story in the video posted above.