Winter is a grueling time to launch a campaign from Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. Yet that’s where, in March 2017, advocates kicked off a state initiative to end gerrymandering, one of four state ballot measures going up for a vote next week. Despite the frigid weather in Marquette, one of the state’s frostiest cities, a town hall garnered about 70 concerned residents—not a bad showing for a grassroots push, and a promising start in an effort to organize 33 town halls over 33 days.
Since then, Voters Not Politicians has snowballed. The group aims to put a stop to political gerrymandering, the much-maligned practice that enables majority party leaders, Republican and Democratic alike, to redraw political districts to their maximum advantage. Voters Not Politicians gathered 425,000 signatures to put a new plan for redistricting up for a vote, many more than the law requires. This anti-gerrymandering initiative—Proposal 2 on Michigan’s ballot in the election on November 6—seeks to establish an independent commission that would draw the state’s congressional districts.