In November 2016, Katie Fahey posted on Facebook that she wanted to “take on gerrymandering in Michigan.”
Tired of the divisiveness in politics and frustrated with state district maps that she felt were preserving incumbents and not accountable enough to voters, Fahey, an independent, said she knew people were hungry for change after a presidential contest dominated by outsiders.
“If you want to help, let me know,” she wrote, adding a smiley face.
Thousands did. Nearly two years later, Fahey is the founder and executive director of a more than 5,000-person volunteer organization, Voters Not Politicians, that spent months gathering signatures to get a redistricting initiative on the ballot in November that would appoint an independent citizen commission to draw Michigan’s voting maps. This week, they won a major court battle after the state Supreme Court shot down a challenge to the initiative.
Voters trying to overhaul the redistricting process in other states that critics say have been gerrymandered are taking a similar tack. Colorado, Missouri and Utah will all have initiatives on the ballot that would, in varying degrees, remove lawmakers from the redistricting process. Organizers in at least four other states have made moves to mount similar changes, too.
“People recognize that elections just aren’t working,” said Fahey, 29. “They don’t feel like politicians are responsive or accountable to them as a voter.”
She said much of the campaign has been about trying to educate voters — redistricting policy is hardly a day-to-day concern for most people — and trying to tie it to more everyday…