Activist group Voters Not Politicians joined the State of Michigan’s opposition to two Republican lawsuits aimed at protecting constitutional rights involved in the redistricting process.
The U.S. District Court in Grand Rapids allowed Voters Not Politicians to join against the Michigan Republican Party’s lawsuit against Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson, according to a story by Michigan Live. The organization will offer its expertise to the state.
The group also recently filed a motion to intervene in a second lawsuit, which aims at dismantling Michigan’s Independent Citizens Redistricting Commission, The Michigan Star reported.
In the first lawsuit, the state party says that the standards for selecting commission members violate its constitutional rights — freedom of association — because parties are blocked from choosing the members, Michigan Live said.
The state has open primaries, meaning voters in those elections do not have to declare a party affiliation; GOP lawyers say there is no way to verify information given by people wanting to serve on the commission, and thus may not serve the party’s interests.
In the second lawsuit, 15 plaintiffs argue they would be disqualified from serving on the commission, according to The Star.
Fifteen individuals filed a federal lawsuit on July 30, claiming that the eligibility requirements for the commission violate the First and Fourteenth Amendments of the U.S. Constitution. Partisan officeholders and candidates, as well as their employees, some relatives and lobbyists are all prohibited from serving on the commission.
The proposal to create the commission was passed during the 2018 midterm elections. It was designed to remove legislators from the redistricting process and prevent gerrymandering.
The plaintiffs, who do not meet the eligibility standards, are asking the court to declare the commission unconstitutional and block its creation.
Democratic Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel asked the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Michigan to throw out the second lawsuit, according to a story by The Star.
Voters approved Proposal 2 in 2018 to create the commission, which the plaintiffs say is unconstitutional. Proposal 2 moved responsibility for redrawing district boundaries from the State Legislature to a citizen commission.
The National Republican Redistricting Trust filed a federal lawsuit aimed at blocking the redistricting commission.
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Jason M. Reynolds has more than 20 years’ experience as a journalist at outlets of all sizes.