Bipartisan student meeting addresses issues of gerrymandering


Paul Janes, Staff Writer

When you first think of gerrymandering you think of  states like North Carolina or Pennsylvania, but most likely you don’t think of Michigan. The Young Democrats and Young Conservatives clubs of EGR held a joint-club meeting to inform people about gerrymandering in Michigan. They brought in an organization called Voters Not Politicians to inform students about how gerrymandering in Michigan effects their vote.

“I got a lot of information out of the meeting. I learned a lot about gerrymandering. I learned about how politicians can choose their voters and reshape the districts. I learned a lot about how politicians can get elected by rearranging [the districts] to their advantage,” Billy Beusse ‘21, a new member of Young Conservatives said.

The speakers, Judith Simonson and Mary Ortiz, focused on specific areas in Michigan where you can clearly see the effects of gerrymandering. For example in Michigan during the last midterm elections Republicans got 48% of the vote, and Democrats got 47% of the votes. However nine of the house seats went to the Republicans, and only five of them went Democratic, meaning that a 1% difference equals five more house seats.

“I think gerrymandering as a whole is a problem that really doesn’t get enough attention because people don’t understand it. One reason I reached out to VNP in the first place is because I wanted our student body to be aware of this problem so they can vote to change it in the future,” Asha Lewis ‘18, Vice President of Young Democrats said.

One of the main goals of VNP is to educate Michiganders about gerrymandering in Michigan, so that people can then be aware of how to stop this.

“In Michigan, politicians choose their voters, instead of the voters choosing their politicians,” Simonson said.

This fact is something that scares many voters away from the polls because it makes them feel as if their vote doesn’t matter. However they stressed that it is very important to go out and vote.

“I’m happy that they are trying to change it so that my vote matters more. Mainly because we live in a democratic society that values each individuals values and ideas, so having each individual have a say is very important,” Beusse said.

However there are ways to combat this problem, and Simonson called our generation into action to help fight this problem. The organization currently has a petition with 450,000 signatures that would make a bill that aims to get rid of gerrymandering, if you would like to learn more or volunteer you can visit their website.