Michigan Proposal 2 redistricting group defends dark money as fighting fire with fire

The group behind Proposal 2 raised more than $15 million in direct and in-kind donations this election cycle. They’ve already spent around $11 million of it — mostly on liberal consultants and strategists.

Katie Fahey, the director of Voters Not Politicians, said the group had no qualms accepting millions from out-of-state nonprofits, arguing it wanted to be sure it could fight back against opposition campaigns. She said opposition group Protect My Vote is fighting for “the status quo.”

Organizers behind Proposal 2 have long portrayed themselves as a bipartisan coalition fueled by a grassroots army bent on reforming Michigan’s redistricting system.

And for most of this election year, the group, Voters Not Politicians, has flourished in its underdog role ‒ improbably collecting over 400,000 signatures with volunteer canvassers to get the proposal on the ballot, then beating back a lengthy court challenge.

Then came Friday evening, when campaign finance filings revealed VNP had received a staggering $14 million in direct and in-kind donations over the past three months, much of it from out-of-state dark money groups with a history of supporting Democratic causes. VNP spent nearly $11 million, most of it on consultants, strategists and media specialists who serve Democratic causes and candidates.

Conservative opponents, who had derided Prop 2 as a waste of money at best and a front for a Democratic gerrymander at worst, now say they feel vindicated.

“This should dispel the myth that Proposal 2 is some kind of nonpartisan grassroots initiative,” Lt. Gov. and former Republican gubernatorial candidate Brian Calley wrote on Twitter.

The Michigan Republican Party declared, without evidence, that VNP had been “caught in a scam” by accepting the dark-money contributions.

Tony Daunt, executive director of the conservative nonprofit Michigan Freedom Fund, declined to disclose donors behind Freedom Fund’s contributions to Protect My Vote, a ballot committee opposing Proposal 2. Daunt said his group has always been up front about its advocacy for conservative policies, adding that that’s different than Voters Not Politicians portraying itself as a grassroots group.

“Out of state liberal groups are literally spending millions to try and buy a space in the Michigan Constitution. Don’t let this happen,” conservative consultant Stu Sandler tweeted.

Voters Not Politicians and its leader Katie Fahey make no apologies for accepting millions of dollars from organizations that do not have to disclose their donors. She says the group can’t afford to turn down donations against well-funded and politically entrenched opponents who accept support from similar groups. Despite the money haul, VNP says it remains a grassroots organization because it never gave up control of the ballot campaign.

“At the end of the day,” Fahey told Bridge Magazine, “when you’re up against other dark money, we don’t want to lose because we can’t fund a campaign.”

Experts in redistricting policy and campaign finance say the Democratic-aligned contributions are no surprise. Because Michigan’s current system for drawing legislative lines (in which the party in power in Lansing controls the process) has lately benefitted Republicans, Democrats have more to gain from backing a measure that puts those decisions in the hands of a citizens commission.

The 11th-hour wave of funding means national groups think Prop 2 is likely to pass, experts said, not that VNP’s claim of grassroots support was necessarily a sham.

As of Friday, VNP had brought in nearly five times more money ($15.6 million) than opposition group Protect My Vote ($3.2 million), which also receives dark-money donations.

Big bucks from — and to — the left

The bulk of donations to VNP — $10.6 million of it — comes from two 501(c)(4) organizations, federal tax lingo for political nonprofits that can accept unlimited funds from individuals, unions and corporations. They are often considered to be “dark-money” groups because they aren’t required to disclose the source of their funding.

The biggest funder is the Sixteen Thirty Fund, a Washington, D.C.-based group that has poured millions into progressive causes around the country. Sixteen Thirty Fund declined to disclose its donors when asked by Bridge.

Pete Quist, research director at the nonpartisan National Institute on Money in Politics, which tracks campaign finance spending, said the Sixteen Thirty Fund has supported ballot measures in other states to increase the minimum wage and expand access to Medicaid. In Michigan, Sixteen Thirty Fund also funded a ballot committee to require paid sick leave, which the Legislature adopted. Politico reported the group founded a network of state-level advocacy organizations dedicated to progressive causes, such as Floridians for a Fair Shake and Colorado United for Families.

“They’re becoming quite a substantial player in campaign finance,” said Liz Essley Whyte, a reporter with the nonprofit Center for Public Integrity who has covered money’s influence over state ballot measures this election cycle.

VNP’s money haul: Over the last three months, Voters Not Politicians’ funding structure has changed dramatically. More than $10 million in donations poured in from the Sixteen Thirty Fund and Action Now Initiative, out-of-state political nonprofits that are not required to disclose their donors. (Graphic by Craig Mauger of the Michigan Campaign Finance Network)

The Action Now Initiative, VNP’s second-largest funder with $5.1 million in contributions, was founded by Texas energy hedge fund billionaires John and Laura Arnold. Its contributions are more politically diverse: It helped fund redistricting ballot measures in Colorado and Utah, an initiative to tax sugary beverages in Oregon and a proposal to institute ranked-choice voting in Maine. Recently, it has also given millions to Patients for Affordable Drugs, which works to reduce the cost of prescription drugs. Unlike Sixteen Thirty Fund, Action Now says it discloses donors; the fund’s CEO Sam Mar told Bridge the entirety of its funding comes from the Arnolds.

Other recent VNP donors include unions SEIU and the National Education Association; environmental advocates Quadrivium Foundation and Green Advocacy Project; Samson Energy heiress Stacy Schusterman; the Beckwith Constitutional Liberties Fund (whose mission is the “elimination of prejudice and discrimination”); a Boston-based Democratic donor, and a redistricting advocacy organization founded by former U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder and backed by former President Barack Obama.

Despite multi-million-dollar donations, the vast majority of contributions to VNP remain modest. Before July 21, the average donation to VNP was $103 and the median was $25. In the last three months (which saw the massive contributions) that average climbed to $1,106, but the median stayed relatively steady at $30 — meaning there were as many donations under $30 as over it.

Who contributes to Proposal 2: Massive out-of-state donations make up the vast majority of VNP’s funding, but campaign finance records indicate that most of its individual contributions remain  fairly modest. Over the last three months (which saw the multi-million-dollar donations) the median contribution was $30, meaning there were as many donations under $30 as over it.

While VNP can’t necessarily control who gives it money, it does control the people and groups it hires to help pass Prop 2. The latest campaign finance filings show it’s spending that money with consultants and strategists serving progressive candidates and causes.

Records show it paid $7 million to Know How Strategies to buy broadcast ad time through another group, Sage Media Planning. Washington, D.C.-based Sage Media also worked for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, End Citizens United and a variety of other Democratic candidates in 2018.

Trilogy Interactive, recipient of $1.1 million from VNP, has worked on campaigns for Democratic Sens. Chuck Schumer and Elizabeth Warren. Deliver Strategies, which received around $595,000, has worked for Planned Parenthood and the AFL-CIO.

Fahey, VNP’s director, said this was by circumstance, not design. VNP’s “request for proposal” bidding processes were open to both Democratic and Republican firms and it deliberately tried to hire conservative consulting and strategy firms, she said, but were rebuffed.

“I contacted a number of (Republican consultants) who I have found reasonable and thoughtful over the years and they let me know in no uncertain terms that the party would hold it against them if they participated," said David Waymire, partner of Lansing-based public relations firm Martin Waymire, which represents Voters Not Politicians. 

And why not nonpartisan firms? “The reality is, they do not exist,” Fahey said.

To those who say VNP’s funding reveals partisan intent, Fahey replied, “read the language” of the ballot proposal. The proposal doesn’t create a system that helps Democrats get elected, she said, it creates fairer elections for whoever is running.

Proposal 2 would create a 13-member commission comprised of four Democrats, four Republicans and five people not affiliated with either party, with voting requirements that require at least some consensus among the three groups to approve a particular map. Commission candidates would self-identify their political affiliation, which critics of Proposal 2 fear could lead to map manipulation.

Dark-money on both sides

Voters Not Politicians also notes that the group opposing it, Protect My Vote, is funded by a dark money group, the conservative Michigan Freedom Fund.

The difference between the dark money VNP and Protect My Vote have received, Fahey argues, comes down to the intent of each campaign.

The Michigan Freedom Fund is “spending millions to try to keep the status quo … which is rigged by politicians and the interests that are paying them,” Fahey said.

As Bridge has reported, as the party in power for much of the past two decades, Republicans in Lansing have controlled how state and congressional legislative districts are drawn, leading to Michigan being one of the most gerrymandered states in the nation. Emails disclosed as part of a federal lawsuit challenging the state’s redistricting plan reveal how Republican consultants, lawyers and officeholders strategized in 2011 to draw legislative boundaries to help GOP candidates and disadvantage Democrats.

Fahey argues that Proposal 2 forces those technical map-drawing decisions to be made publicly, rather than through self-serving backroom deals.

“I think we’re doing the smart thing by the will of the people to make sure we can have a campaign that gets the word out about an issue that’s low information,” Fahey said. “Because right now, these decisions are made … behind closed doors.”

Protect My Vote, the opposition group, was formed two days before the Michigan Republican Party’s August convention, with not much known about it.

Through Oct. 21, the deadline for contributions in the last campaign finance reporting period before the election, Protect My Vote reported contributions of slightly more than $150,600, with 93 percent of it coming from just one group: the Michigan Freedom Fund. (Farm Bureau Insurance gave another $10,000.)

The day after the campaign finance reporting window closed, the Michigan Freedom Fund significantly upped the stakes, dropping another $1.2 million into Protect My Vote. A few days later, on Oct. 25, Michigan Freedom Fund gave another $1.6 million to the Proposal 2 opposition effort.

Tony Daunt, executive director of the Michigan Freedom Fund, said the group’s nearly $3 million is before another $119,000 in in-kind contributions for such things as polling, research and staff time. The nonprofit advocates for conservative policies related to civil liberties, smaller government and lower taxes and has ties to the DeVos family, longtime Republican power brokers and donors from West Michigan.

For Prop 2 opponent, one big spender: Nearly all of Protect My Vote’s funding comes from the Michigan Freedom Fund, a conservative political nonprofit based in Michigan that opposes Prop 2 and has declined to disclose its donors. (Graphic by Craig Mauger of the Michigan Campaign Finance Network)

It, too, is a federal 501(c)4 nonprofit, meaning the Michigan Freedom Fund is not required to disclose its donors. Daunt would not voluntarily reveal the sources of its funding, nor whether any of its donors live outside Michigan.

“We follow the law according to disclosure of donors,” Daunt said, “and we believe strongly in donor privacy.”

The difference between Michigan Freedom Fund and Voters Not Politicians, he said, is that his organization hasn’t crafted a public image around being nonpartisan.

“Michigan Freedom Fund has always been up front that we are a conservative organization, that we believe in limited government, we believe in less regulation,” Daunt said. It “never purported to be something we’re not.”

The group also has been active in supporting and opposing state House and Senate candidates through its affiliated PAC, Michigan Freedom Network, state records show. (A “Michigan Freedom Fund” super PAC listed in state campaign finance records, which formed Aug. 21, is connected to the Republican Attorneys General Association, not Daunt’s organization; the super PAC’s only expenditures in the most recent quarter were to oppose Democrat Dana Nessel’s candidacy for Michigan Attorney General.)

Protect My Vote reported two additional late contributions in state records — $50,000 from a political action committee connected to Business Leaders for Michigan, a statewide business roundtable, and $100,000 from the Michigan Chamber of Commerce’s ballot issues PAC.

Anna Heaton, a spokeswoman for Business Leaders for Michigan, said the business group opposes Proposal 2 because it does not have a clear indication whether the redistricting initiative “would result in a better outcome than Michigan has under the present system.”

Rich Studley, president and CEO of the Michigan Chamber, said the $100,000 contribution came because its board of directors indicated it wanted the chamber to continue to oppose Proposal 2.

“We thought it would be timely and helpful to make a meaningful contribution to the effort to defeat that proposal,” Studley said. “We simply believe that it is bad public policy.”

The chamber led opposition to Prop 2 this summer through a separate committee called Citizens Protecting Michigan’s Constitution. The chamber contributed $135,000 in direct contributions and additional in-kind donations to the opposition committee, which unsuccessfully sued to block the redistricting proposal from appearing on the Nov. 6 ballot.

The chamber has faced criticism for its role in the current redistricting system. The  federal lawsuit shows the extent to which chamber executives worked with Republican insiders to shape the state’s 2011 maps.

Studley would not say if the chamber gave money to the Michigan Freedom Fund to fund Protect My Vote.

“We disclose and report everything that is required to be disclosed and reported,” he said.

Is dark money a fairness litmus test?

Experts on redistricting say they are skeptical that the commission proposed by VNP could be leveraged to favor either party. That, they say, is why partisans who are left outside the current process tend to favor Prop 2.  

“A move from a partisan process benefitting Republicans to a neutral process benefitting neither party is a move in a Democratic direction,” said Matt Grossmann, director of the Institute for Public Policy and Social Research at Michigan State University. “So it is no surprise that Democratic consultants, donors and voters are more enthused about that move than the Republican side.”

Jordon Newton, a research associate at the nonpartisan Citizens Research Council of Michigan, which has studied Proposal 2, echoed that idea: Whoever is in control is likely to be opposed to the proposal.

“As for the policy implementation side, it doesn’t really affect our analysis that it probably will have better results in terms of partisan fairness than the current system,” he said.

Republican interests would still be represented in the process, he said.

“The way the commission is designed, it’s more likely to lead to buy-in from both groups, rather than the current process, when it ends up being under unitary control,” Newton said.

Michael Li, an expert in redistricting at the Brennan Center for Justice, a nonpartisan law and policy institute at the New York University School of Law, said the late-stage funding does not necessarily mean Democratic groups were the hidden hand behind VNP’s efforts from the start.

In fact, he said, when VNP first formed, there was “chatter (in national circles) that this was impossible” and held no interest among national donors.

“People recognize that there were problems in Michigan, that Michigan had sort of broken politics (and) one person told me ‘Michigan is where good ideas go to die,’” he said. “‘You just don't get things done in Michigan because people fight with each other, you can't put together the coalition, it’s too complicated a state.’”

When VNP managed to get Prop 2 on the ballot relying entirely on volunteers to gather signatures, it “confounded everybody." Now, he said, the money is an indicator that those national donors want to be on the winning team.

Related: 2018 Bridge Michigan Voter Guide: Links to our relevant election coverage

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Comments

David Waymire
Thu, 11/01/2018 - 8:36am

What's unfortunate is that in Colorado, Republicans and business groups have joined Democrats and associations to support a very similar reform, replacing lawmakers with citizens and having them draw maps in public that cannot favor politicians or parties. Partisan redistricting by politicians is, as President Reagan said, "a great conflict of interest," and is unacceptable when done by any political party.

Gregory Fox
Thu, 11/01/2018 - 1:49pm

David Waymire, why is this "unfortunate?" The Colorado plan sounds good to me as a way to eliminate gerrymandering.

Joel Waldbott
Thu, 11/01/2018 - 9:18am

While VNP may accept money from non-profits, this money is not "Dark Money". The donors are clearly listed in the public records of the non-profit. These nonprofits are not promoting a particular agenda, as Koch Brothers, the Mercers, Adelson, and others do. Their agendas are not for opening the processes to the Transparent world. They are for their own profits and not to benefit ALL of the American People.
The Conservative agenda confuses and muddles the Truth. The commission proposed in the VNP amendment does not have an unlimited fund to spend on the fair and transparent process. The money funding the Commission is the same money funding the current process. The arguments presented against proposal 2 are lies and mistruths. Transparency and an open process are more in line with the principles of democracy and freedom. The method of the majority party is not open, transparent or fair.

Matt
Thu, 11/01/2018 - 3:56pm

This is a perfect example of left wing blinders. The left wing groups (he won't call them that) are all for sweetness and light and the good of all man kind, nothing but the purest altruism. Then you have the evil Koch Brothers et al. Dark Money (evil) is only from the Right!

zooman
Thu, 11/01/2018 - 9:39am

I got involved with Voters Not Politicians and its campaign to end gerrymandering by creating an independent citizens’ redistricting commission in Michigan in the winter of 2017. When I first heard about multi-million dollar support for Proposal 2 from outside donors, I was a little taken aback. But after reflecting for a few minutes, I realized that we had earned it.
• The thousands of 100% unpaid volunteers who gathered over 425,000 signatures in just 110 days earned it.
• The voters of all political persuasions who took the time last year to chat with our volunteers and sign our petitions earned it.
• The thousands of supporters of all political persuasions who have made individual donations to Voters Not Politicians earned it.
• The thousands of volunteers who have worked tirelessly for the past year by reaching out to community groups, churches, local governments and school boards, businesses, students, non-profits and anyone else who wanted to learn more about Proposal 2 earned it.
• And Katie Fahey and the amazing team that put their lives on hold to build the most organized grassroots campaign Michigan has ever seen earned it.
Voters Not Politicians is in fact a grassroots organization built with grassroots support and a grassroots message. Regardless of the size of any donation it has received, we earned it.

Arjay
Thu, 11/01/2018 - 10:23am

The photo at the top of the story says it all, "Your Vote Doesn't Matter". And that may be true for approximately 50% of Michigan voters. For the other 50%, their vote does matter and matters just fine. VNP is a carefully planned petition to take the power away from 1 party and give it to the other. At the end of the day, 50% of people will not like how their district is drawn. And good luck finding 5 independent minded people to sit on the commission.

Bones
Thu, 11/01/2018 - 12:26pm

Except that the current system is structured to keep 50% out of power indefinitely. But yeah, the status quo sure is great...

Bones
Thu, 11/01/2018 - 12:46pm

Even if they can't find 5 grey, neutral, faceless automatons to be the Independents, you're overlooking the fact that any map they vote up will require the assent of at least two representatives from each of the three groups. In the unlikely event that all of the Independents on the committee are secret Democrats, they still need to get the the votes of two Republicans to approve any map.

Lee Griffin
Thu, 11/01/2018 - 11:36am

I too got involved in Voters Not Politicians because it will clearly improve the dire state of politics in Michigan. I have worked alongside dozens of volunteers in the Lansing area and have participated in weekly calls with many more volunteers around the state. I have never seen such a dedicated, thoroughly honest, hardworking, fair-minded bunch of people in my life. They're not getting any material rewards out of the thousands of hours they contribute each week, just the knowledge that they're doing something positive for Michigan and for their grandchildren's grandchildren. This is grassroots democracy at its best!

John Q. Public
Thu, 11/01/2018 - 3:44pm

In this instance, Rs wrote the dark money rules and when the Ds said, "We hate them, but our choice is either adapt or get rolled over" and acted accordingly with resounding success, the Rs cry "Foul!"

This is what the Ds should've done long ago. They've always been so concerned with the perception of occupying the moral high ground that they let their Machiavellian opponents trample them into the dust. I wouldn't lose any sleep over opposition complaints of, "Hey! They're beating us at our own game! Those hypocrites!"

Jeff
Thu, 11/01/2018 - 4:51pm

Anybody that would oppose prop to is a criminal and wants to continue criminal underhanded backroom deals that shuffle money into the political system. How can you be against completely open transparent redistricting?

I cannot believe this is even a debate it's absolutely horrifying.
Anybody that opposes is publicly should be tried for treason and strung up.

That may sound ridiculous but we're coming to that because people are not going to take this shit forever.

Jorge
Sun, 11/04/2018 - 8:13pm

Geez Jeff,
It is obvious that you are a Democrat, with your attitude. As is the usual, you could not fight your way out of a wet paper bag....good to beat up old people at best. Bi-partisan is ok, not nuts like you. Crawl back to Momma's basement until your next Welfare check is ready.

John Haeussler
Thu, 11/01/2018 - 5:42pm

This comment is tangential to the article, but I feel that it's important. The concept behind Proposal 2 is reasonable. The difficultly is in truly implementing a system that isn't essentially politically-rigged. And, for me, this is where Proposal 2 comes up short. It places virtually all authority in the process on one person, the sitting Secretary of State, which is a partisan position and one that has seemingly become, in my lifetime, more and more political in nature. The SOS has the sole authority to determine the eligibility of the applicants for the redistricting commission. (The SOS reviews completeness and qualifications of applicants.) What trouble me the most, however, is that the selection of the commission members is to be "random." Randomness is not the same as equal probability, which anyone with the slightest statistical acumen recognizes. The SOS may confer with other officials of her/his political party and identify which persons, among the group of applicants, they wish to be selected (or not selected) to represent their party, which persons they wish to be selected (or not selected) to represent the other party, and which persons they wish to be selected (or not selected) to represent the unaffiliated members. And the SOS can then apply probabilities of selection to virtually guarantee the desired results. For a simple example, let's say that we're making a random selection between A and B. We really like A, we really don't like B. If we assign A a probability of selection of 999,999 out of 1,000,000 and assign B a probability of selection of 1 out of 1,000,000 and then make a random selection based on those probabilities, we're virtually guaranteed to select A. This exact authority is granted to the SOS via Proposal 2. Hence, one person (who will almost certainly be either a member of the Democratic Party or Republican Party) will have the authority to determine the eligibility of commission applicants, and the authority to "gerrymander" the composition of the commission via random, but unequal probability, selection. Proposal 2 thus takes the authority from one segment of one party and places it with one person of one party. It's far too ripe for corruption to be effective.

zooman
Fri, 11/02/2018 - 12:44pm

Have you actually read the proposal? Please identify for Bridge readers the language that supports your arguments.

John Haeussler
Sat, 11/03/2018 - 9:09pm

Yes, I've read the proposal. It speaks of random selection throughout. Random is not defined in the proposal. Random does not mean, or imply, equal probability. And Section 6.2. clearly gives the SOS the authority to determine the eligibility of the applicants. Can you please identify any language within the proposal that doesn't support my comments?

John Q. Public
Fri, 11/02/2018 - 2:02pm

There's a lot to not like about Proposal 2, but I'm voting for it anyway because I think it's better than the way it's being done now. All the talk I hear about accountability is just noise, because voters can't hold the legislature accountable via the ballot box. They can hold only their own individual legislators accountable, and my observation over decades is that they aren't even willing to do that.

Many people think these changes don't belong in the constitution because that makes it too difficult to fix the resulting problems that arise. They're right, but you know what? I don't care! The legislature has had DECADES to implement a better system via statute, but thought it was time better spent to abuse the present system for partisan advantage. So, when a group of citizens--with or without the support of out-of-state "special interests"--decides to take matters into their own hands to implement their own fix, anybody who could have held their legislators' feet to the fire in years past but didn't, and now don't like the result of the doers, can go (insert vulgar idiom here).

Maybe the proposals on the ballot will induce the legislature to start doing its job, but I doubt it. If past is prologue--and it is--its time will now be spent in separate caucuses searching for ways to circumvent the will of the people. Can't have that ruining their political aspirations, after all.

zooman
Sat, 11/03/2018 - 8:08am

One of the things that has been overlooked by almost everyone is the fact that the drafters of the 1963 Constitution specifically took redistricting out of the hands of the state legislature and gave it to an independent citizens’ redistricting commission with these four key provisions:
• The commission’s members were appointed from four geographical areas: the Upper Peninsula, the northern half of the Lower Peninsula, Southeast Lower Peninsula, and Southwest Lower Michigan.
• The commission as first appointed under this provision would consist of 8 people, four appointed by each of the two “major” political parties.
• No employee of any federal, state or local governmental body could serve on the commission.
• The commission was autonomous; the legislature and other state elected officials had no role at all in drawing districts.
Following the US Supreme Court’s one-man, one vote decision, the Michigan Supreme court held in 1982 that the redistricting commission was unconstitutional because its districts were based on geography and not on population. The court also ruled that, because the mechanism for appointing the commissioners was invalid, the entire constitutional provision for redistricting was invalid.
The Court expected that the legislature would resolve this situation by drafting a new amendment to place before the voters, but that didn’t happen, and the redistricting ended up being handled by the legislature, pretty much by default.
Only the first of the four bullet points has ever been held unconstitutional – the validity of the other three has never been questioned. Those three essential points – a selection process, no conflicts of interest, and autonomy are all addressed by revisions in Proposal 2.
There have been complaints that Proposal 2 is too wordy to be in the Constitution, but that is where it has to be, because the process for redistricting has always been established by the Constitution. In the unlikely event that redistricting was something that also could be established by statute, a petition to create such a statute would make no sense. The legislature could just pass the that statute on its own once the petition was certified and then rewrite it to suit its own purposes.
The bottom line, as the Michigan Supreme Court held earlier this year, is that Proposal 2 corrects a situation that should have been addressed long ago.

Tom H
Fri, 11/02/2018 - 7:24am

I expect no objective voter likes gerrymandering. The reality is, Proposal 2 doesn't end gerrymandering, it just moves control from politicians (who the voters ultimately control) to a group of people that no one controls. Why is Proposal 2 3200 words long??? Really??? I suggest that gerrymandering (aka the ABUSE when drawing district lines) can be fixed by a simple 30 word redistricting guideline. "District lines must utilize existing city or county borders. When cities or counties need to be subdivided, district borders MUST BE AS LINEAR AS POSSIBLE depending on existing road infrastructure."

Lee Kirk
Fri, 11/02/2018 - 3:53pm

Have you actually read the proposed amendment, Tom? It would be helpful if you could point out language that supports your assertions.

Melany Mack
Fri, 11/02/2018 - 9:28am

I take strong exception to your statement that Democrats have the most to gain from Proposal Two's passage. VOTERS have the most to gain, and that means voters from both parties. Our votes currently do not count in the gerrymandered districts that have been rigged to benefit one party or the other. And, yes, I acknowledge that most of the gerrymandered districts benefit Republican candidates. How fair is it that more votes were cast for Democratic candidates in recent elections but yet we've ended up with Republican majorities in the state legislature and in our House of Representatives on the national level? Proposal Two will help assure that, in the future, politicians will have to compete on their ideas and ideals. They won't be able to thumb their noses at voters because they are in a "safe" district. That benefits ALL of us, not just some of us. We need to begin to elect leaders, as Chesley Sullenberger pointed out in a recent Washington Post editorial (https://www.cnn.com/2018/10/30/politics/chesley-sullenberger-washington-...) that call us to be our best not our worst. Prop 2 will help us do just that.