What Proposal 2 means for you on this November’s ballot

Ben Hume, Staff Reporter

The Michigan general election will be occurring on Nov. 6, and there are a multitude of important decisions on this year’s ballot. Among these proposals is Proposal 2, known colloquially as “Voters Not Politicians,” which hopes to solve the longstanding partisan issue of gerrymandering in the state of Michigan.

Politics these days ask for you to care about a lot, and there’s a good chance many students are voting for their first time this November. So, why should this proposal matter to you? Here’s the lowdown on gerrymandering and why voting on this decision is so important for the future of your state.

The issue of gerrymandering can be defined as “changing of the size or shape of electoral boundaries for partisan advantage,” according to Alan Epstein, special instructor in the Political Science department at Oakland University.

“Every 10 years, in accordance with the mandated census, the electoral boundaries are adjusted to make sure that they reflect the changing population,” Epstein explained. “And those can be manufactured in a way to provide political advantages.”

Epstein said the redistricting itself is not inherently bad — in fact, it is required to respond to changes in population. The problem is when they are used unfairly. When the legislature is in charge of drawing the new lines when they come to power, they have a vested interest in drawing the district lines in a way that makes it easier for them and their party to get elected. Both parties are responsible for this in many different states, but in Michigan, the Republican party has been responsible for our gerrymandered districts in recent years, according to Epstein.

This issue might be to the advantage of the Republican Party now, but no matter what your political orientation is, this issue is widely considered to be impartial and unfair. OU Student Congress President Ryan Fox echoed the fact that “this is a non-partisan issue,” and that this should definitely have your attention.

“This is essentially deciding who they will get to vote on for the rest of their lives,” Fox said in regards to the issue’s effect on OU students. “These changes don’t come often.”

Even if you feel overwhelmed by how important this decision is, or feel like this isn’t something a first time voter should know about, Fox emphasized that it is important to your future for you to care about this issue.

“If [you] just happen to be 18, 20, 22, what have it, this is definitely something that will affect [your] ability to…buy a house, it will affect [your] ability to have successful careers, it’ll affect [your] ability to get out of debt,” Fox said.

Will this proposal be the solution for this difficult political issue? Epstein said “that remains to be seen.” Similar proposals have been enacted elsewhere, and “depending on who you talk to, it seems to be fair and an improvement on the way it used to be,” according to Epstein. For the time being, it seems to have popular support from much of the public, with three different polls from The Glengariff Group and EPIC-MRA showing, on average, 47 percent of the public in support.

Regardless of political affiliation and experience with voting, this ballot proposal could be one to focus on. Do your research, then make the decision on Nov. 6.