Chamber Sets the Record Straight on Current Debate Over Redistricting Ballot Proposal

Setting the record straight
July 9, 2018

The Michigan Chamber of Commerce today issued the following statement to set the record straight on the debate over the redistricting ballot proposal.  

“The proposed redistricting ballot proposal would drastically rewrite Michigan’s Constitution to change the basic foundation of state governing structure by removing the voice of the Governor, Legislature and Courts in the redistricting process, replacing three branches of government with a randomly drawn 13-member commission that would be unelected and unaccountable,” said Jim Holcomb, Executive Vice President & General Counsel for the Michigan Chamber. “The ballot proposal would also place an inordinate amount of power in the hands of a partisan Secretary of State, thus favoring one political party over the other and generating divisive partisanship, public discontent and distrust of the electoral process.” 

“Proponents of the redistricting proposal have failed to meet the clear requirements set forth in state law and the Michigan Constitution to qualify for the ballot,” added Holcomb. “This sweeping rewrite of the State Constitution requires convening a Constitutional Convention.”

“The concerns of the Chamber are shared by many individuals and groups and form the basis of a legal challenge filed by Citizens Protecting Michigan’s Constitution, a non-profit organization dedicated to ensuring plans to alter the State Constitution are legally valid,” Holcomb continued.

“We need more citizen participation in the public policy arena, not less,” said Michigan Chamber President & CEO Rich Studley. “Removing the input of three branches of government and empowering 13 randomly drawn unelected and unaccountable individuals bound by no standards is not the best way to determine how future districts are drawn after the next census.”

“Unfortunately, in the middle of a respectful debate between Michiganders over a lengthy and complicated rewrite to our State Constitution, an out-of-state activist group inserted itself into the mix and is spreading false and misleading information in a way that is damaging to civil discourse," Studley noted.  

“Misinformation campaigns and targeted harassment are part of what is wrong with politics in America today and these tactics are not welcome here in Michigan,” continued Studley. “The Chamber does not support gerrymandering, as the misinformation campaign suggests; we oppose this specific ballot proposal because it's bad public policy.” 

“This important legal question is now properly before the Michigan Supreme Court and we look forward to their decision,” Studley concluded.