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Alpena Residents Gather Against Gerrymandering

Earlier today Alpena residents gathered together to learn about political gamesmanship in the state of Michigan.

I was there, and spoke with today’s speaker. Here’s a look at that story.

A group of Voters Not Politicians Ballot Committee hosted a town hall meeting in Alpena Sunday in conjunction with Count Michigan Vote in hopes to stop what’s called gerrymandering.

The town hall meeting was set up to get Michigan citizens on board with amending the constitution so that they could decide the boundary lines for both congressional and state legislative districts.

“What’s happened especially with computer science and all of the data is the maps are being manipulated in a way that the results of the election is predetermined. In most districts they already know whose going to win before they even reveal who the candidates are. As a result the voters really don’t have a choice anymore. There are too many cases where they are being manipulated. The politicians are choosing their voters; the voters should be choosing their politicians,” Sunday’s speaker, Walter Sorg said.

Sorg says right now things are designed to be unfair.

“For the state legislative we have 110 state representatives. Only about 20 of them of those 110 districts are really in play between the two parties. Most of the time the same party is going to win time after time after time, and it’s designed that way. More importantly the party that gets the most votes doesn’t always win the most elections, and they end up in the minority even though they got the most votes, and that’s kind of a violation of the fundamentals of having a representative of democracy, ” he added.

In order to make change, so that Michigan citizens will be able to decide boundary lines, the ballot committee must have over 400,000 valid signatures before November 2018.

“We have to gather 320,000 valid signatures in a 180 day period. Which means we have to mobilize thousands of volunteers across the state to circulate petitions in several months. We only have 180 days to do it under state law. So that means about 12,000 signatures a week, for 26 consecutive weeks to get on the ballot. That’s a huge undertaking. Either one you spend a lot of special interest money to hire people to collect signatures, or you mobilize people the grassroots organization who is really impacted by this fundamental issue,” Sorg said.

Saturday’s event is one of more than a dozen that is being held throughout the state of Michigan trying to educate citizens to fight fair when it comes to politics.

“This is about basic fundamental fairness in our election system. Right now we’ve got a system that serves the interest of the political insiders. We need a system that fairly represents the interest of the voters,” Sorg finished.

In Alpena for WBKB News, I’m Star Connor.