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Challenge To Voters Not Politicians In The Works

April 25, 2018

It may be breaking news, but it is surely not surprising news that this week opponents of the petition drive to revamp the state’s apportionment process will legally challenge it on two fronts.

Look for those opponents to file complaints with the State Board of Canvassers and, soon thereafter, make a constitutional argument to the state appellate court in an attempt to keep the Voters Not Politicians drive off the November ballot. 

A source familiar with the behind-the-scenes maneuvering to block this proposal tells MIRS you always want to “exhaust any administrative challenges first” at the board, but opponents are mindful that the courts could eventually decide this matter regardless of what happens at the board meeting. 

This week is the deadline for bringing any challenges. 

There are perhaps as many as five or six sections of the multi-paged petition language that may be ripe for legal debate, according to this source. 

“It’s radical and it’s very complex and we’re pretty confident” this can be stopped in its tracks, the source said. 

Equally as confident are the petition circulators who claim to have collected close to 450,000 signatures to ban gerrymandering. They have anticipated this type of fight from the opening bell and report that their lawyers are confident this will pass constitutional muster. 

“This is just another ploy by those few who benefit from our current redistricting process, which allows lobbyists and politicians to work behind closed doors to create districts that benefit political insiders and special interests, instead of the public. Our proposal calls for an Independent Citizens Redistricting Commission to use public meetings to create districts that will hold elected officials more accountable,” said VNP Director Katie Fahey.

“We are confident that our proposal will be on the November ballot. We fully expect this move by advocates of our current rigged system will be tossed out, just as the complaint against the Secretary of State’s office by longtime gerrymandering supporter Bob LaBrant was rejected by the Attorney General’s office earlier this year.”

Veteran barrister Peter Ellsworth is leading the legal assault team and fellow lawyer Richard McLellan, who has not worked on this issue said, “Peter will find a way to challenge this.”

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