Proposal to end gerrymandering resonated in red and blue Michigan

Feb. 5, 2019: Michigan Republicans defend political maps as gerrymandering trial opens
Feb. 4, 2019: New emails show Michigan GOP used maps to consolidate Republican power
Dec. 6: Michigan Senate GOP moves bills enacting Props 2 and 3, despite objections
Nov. 30: Michigan gerrymandering trial on for February; court cites ‘profound’ bias

For months, Republicans labeled a ballot measure to change how Michigan draws legislative districts a partisan plan by Democratic operatives to seize power.

Turns out, quite a few Republican-leaning counties backed the proposal, propelling it to a resounding victory, with over 61 percent voting yes during this week’s election.

Statewide, 65 of 83 counties backed Proposal 2, including 48 that had voted both for President Trump in 2016 and for Republican Bill Schuette for governor (he lost to Democrat Gretchen Whitmer).

The ballot measure also scored huge backing in liberal areas as well including Washtenaw County, where over 76 percent of voters backed the measure.

But it was also widely supported in deep red Alger County (64 percent; where Trump won by 20 points) and Jackson County (birthplace of GOP; 20-point Trump win; nearly 60 percent in favor of Proposal 2).

Chart: Democrats can thank more educated voters for swinging Michigan seats

Proposal 2 seeks to create fairer districts by letting a citizens commission draw boundaries after the decennial Census, not the party in power, which has been Republicans in 2001 and 2011.

New boundaries could cut into the GOP political advantage that’s been helped by two decades of gerrymandered districts: Despite getting fewer than half of votes statewide on Tuesday, Republicans will remain in the majority in both the House and Senate.

Michigan has some of the most gerrymandered districts in the nation, according to experts and an analysis by Bridge Magazine.

Click on the counties to see how they voted and which way they lean politically.

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Kevin Grand
Fri, 11/09/2018 - 8:29am

"For months, Republicans labeled a ballot measure to change how Michigan draws legislative districts a partisan plan by Democratic operatives to seize power."

Please remind me again how many Conservative groups financially supported Prop 2?

I don't recall which ones those were?

Fri, 11/09/2018 - 11:13am

Conservative groups =/= conservative voters.

John Q. Public
Fri, 11/09/2018 - 11:26am


That would be none, but what else would you expect? They benefited the last two decades, and are probably confident they will control both legislative chambers after the 2020 election, allowing them to continue to do so for at least one more.I don't understand why it surprises people that interest groups at any place on the political spectrum will fight back when a system is skewed to screw them.

Kevin Grand
Sun, 11/11/2018 - 4:49pm

So long story short, Proposal 2 WAS a partisan plan by Democratic operatives to seize power.

There's no way anyone can honestly spin that.

Paul Jordan
Fri, 11/09/2018 - 9:07am

I think that the breadth of the support for Proposal 2--and the even broader support for Proposal 3--are the most heartening news in years. They are signs that despite the acidic partisanship that we all suffer, Michiganders value democracy above all. The margins of victory for each of these measures is proof that we want each other to be able to have our votes matter, even when we may be voting for different candidates.

That is truly wonderful. Maybe we're going to be okay.

Fri, 11/09/2018 - 11:41am

The problem with all ballot initiatives like these is that voters have a very poor record with sequential thinking and imagining any unintended consequences for anything! They generally seize on the big simple ideas. Gerrymandering - Bad! Term Limits - Good! No reason absentee voting - Good! Taxes - Bad! Buses - Good! There is very little consideration given beyond that point nor do they even likely read the other provisions beyond the big (seemingly) favorable one they mentally seize upon. Another lesson that the road to hell is indeed, paved with good intentions!

Sat, 11/10/2018 - 2:14pm

I think your comment about unintended consequences is valid to a degree--term limits is a good example of that. I don't think Proposal 2 was that, however. I think the bill itself was crafted very carefully. The only attacks opponents could come up with were partial or complete lies. Gerrymandering is one of those things only loved by those who benefit from it--there is NO good reason you can vote FOR gerrymandering in a republican democratic system. If you've got one, let me know, because I haven't found even one!

Sun, 11/11/2018 - 1:01pm

There are always negatives to every "solution". Assuming Prop 2 accomplishes as advertised, are constantly super competitive races a good thing where our politicians don't spend every waking moment in perpetual campaigning? Is it a bad thing to have like minded voters concentrated in certain districts with like minded voters? Is deliberate gerrymandering really the cause of all the left-wing angst pushing this proposition s or is it individual location preferences? I am doubtful of the benefits of 99% of anything. Is this solution likely to move the needle as to giving us a more functional, effective governance? Aside that we probably can't agree on what is meant by functional and effective, I'll bet against it every time.