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Town hall being held in effort to stop gerrymandering

BENTON HARBOR, Mich. -

A grassroots campaign looking to re-do redistricting in Michigan is holding a town hall in Benton Harbor Tuesday night.

“In our state, after the census, the party that is in power draws the lines for each district,” said Peggy Getty, a St. Joe resident.

Getty learned a lot about redistricting after the last election.

She recently attended an event up in Lansing held by Count MI Vote.

She then helped organize Tuesday’s town hall.

“Their goal is to put together a constitutional amendment that would be on the ballot that would take that responsibility away from the legislators and put it in the hands of an impartial panel,” said Getty.

Some of Michigan’s districts may look odd to you when you look at them on a map.

That’s because they’ve been redrawn in years past by political leaders whose party was then the majority.

Both sides of the political aisle have done it.

Count MI Vote wants to stop it.

Tuesday’s town hall – at 6:30 p.m. at Lake Michigan College’s Mendel Center – will be an opportunity to educate the audience and learn from them.

The group – along with Getty – are forming their pitch to the people to re-do redistricting.

“It doesn’t encourage or motivate politicians to reach out for compromise because the way the districts are drawn, the party that is in power doesn’t really have to work to please more of the people because their districts are all pretty safe,” said Getty.

Getty said the town hall is timely because the next census will be done in 2020 – meaning a redrawing of the districts will take place soon after.

Count MI Vote will start collecting signatures in May.

They need more than 315,000 to qualify for a vote in November 2018. 

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