Proposal 2, Proposal 3 pass, changing election laws and districts in Michigan

Prop2 Redistricting Measure.PNG

Michigan voters have passed a constitutional amendment that will entrust the job of drawing the state's voting districts to an independent commission rather than the Legislature and governor.

The ballot measure that passed Tuesday could alter the balance of power in a state Republicans have controlled since 2010.

As of 1 a.m. Wednesday, 61 percent of voters were in favor of the proposal while 39 percent remained in opposition, with 70 percent of precincts reporting, according to unofficial vote totals.

The measure's proponents say it will stop partisan gerrymandering, in which the party in power draws electoral maps to maintain or improve its position. Instead, it will entrust the once-a-decade process to a commission of citizens that will include four Democrats, four Republicans and five members who aren't affiliated with either party.

Opponents said the measure will take power away from those elected to represent the people and give it to an unelected panel.

An Associated Press statistical analysis of the 2016 election results found that Michigan's state House districts had one of the largest Republican tilts in the nation, trailing only South Dakota's.

The second constitutional amendment approved Tuesday, focuses on voting rights - allowing residents to register and vote on the day of an election, request absentee ballots without having to give a reason, and cast straight-ticket ballots.

As of 1 a.m. Wednesday, 67 percent of voters were in favor of the proposal while 33 percent remained in opposition with 70 percent of precincts reporting, according to unofficial vote totals.

The ballot measure approved Tuesday will also automatically register people to vote when they obtain or renew a driver's license or conduct some other type of business with the Secretary of State's Office, unless they opt out.

The measure's backers, including the American Civil Liberties Union of Michigan, the League of Women Voters and NAACP branches, said it will make voting more accessible and secure.

Its opponents, including some prominent Republicans, argued that some of the measure's provisions are duplicative and that it would add more bureaucracy and regulations.

Proposal 2 passes

Voters Not Politicians, spearheaded by Katie Fahey, is the group behind Proposal 2. Fahey said the idea came to her after the 2016 election and she wanted to find a way to draw political district lines without benefiting one political party over the other.

Voters Not Politicians, a citizens' group, would create a 13-member independent citizens redistricting commission in the legislative branch, made up of four Republicans, four Democrats, and five people who identify with neither party.

Proposal 3 passes

Billed as the Promote the Vote initiative, Proposal 3 includes same-day voter registration, no-reason absentee voting, straight-ticking voting options and adds current legal requirements for military and overseas voting and post-election audits as amendments to the Michigan Constitution.

Proposal 3 is supported by the American Civil Liberties Union, League of Women Voters of Michigan and others.

Democratic Secretary of State candidate Jocelyn Benson also backs the initiative. She said in a previous interview, that if implemented properly the proposal will make voting easier and more accessible to all Michiganders.

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