Advance Notice: Briefs

GOP sues to block redistricting commission

By: - July 30, 2019 5:28 pm
Voting station

Ralph Freso, Getty Images

A group of Republicans sued the Michigan Secretary of State Tuesday in an attempt to block the independent redistricting commission mandated by last year’s Proposal 2.

Scott Walker
Scott Walker

The lawsuit, filed on behalf of 15 Michiganders who would be barred from the commission under its rules against members’ involvement in partisan politics, says the eligibility standards violate the 1st Amendment.

Wisconsin Republican former Gov. Scott Walker is leading the charge with, as part of his group the National Republican Redistricting Trust. Other plaintiffs include Republican state Sen. Tom Barrett (R-Charlotte), Republican Women’s Federation of Michigan President Linda Lee Tarver, and her husband Clint Tarver, Lansing’s famous “Hot Dog Guy.”

Walker said in a statement: “Any reform, no matter how poorly conceived, must achieve its goals without infringing on the basic rights guaranteed to all of us by the Constitution. Michigan’s new redistricting commission falls short of that standard by punishing the people of Michigan for exercising those rights — or for being related to someone who has.”

News of the lawsuit drew sharp criticism from Voters Not Politicians, the voting rights nonprofit that led the charge for Proposal 2. Jamie Lyons-Eddy, the group’s director of campaigns and programs, said in a statement that they’re confident the lawsuit will be defeated.

“It’s no surprise that politicians – who directly benefit from drawing their own election maps and choosing their own voters – want to undermine the voice of voters again,” Lyons-Eddy said. “We’re confident that the proposal will survive any and all legal challenges, just as it did from many of these same politicians on the way to the ballot.”

Earlier this July, Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson explained the process by which the independent commissions will be chosen. Public comment on that process will be open until Aug. 9.

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Derek Robertson
Derek Robertson

Derek Robertson is a former reporter for the Advance. Previously, he wrote for Politico Magazine in Washington. He is a Genesee County native and graduate of both Wayne State University, where he studied history, and the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University.