OUR VIEW: Account for Michigan’s best interests

By Daily News • Last Updated 10:57 pm on Friday, February 08, 2013

Vote rigging in elections is bad business no matter who benefits. A proposal is currently in the Michigan Legislature that would carry the age-old political practice of gerrymandering to the max.

Rep. Pete Lund, of Shelby Township, would like to have Michigan’s presidential election Electoral College votes awarded by Congressional District. To make such a change right now for purely partisan political advantage would be ludicrous. With an assist from citizen input and bipartisan legislative study, however, it might lead to further consideration.

In these highly contentious political times, it’s not surprising that someone would move to adopt a system that would alter a state’s allocation of Electoral College votes. In Michigan the total popular vote winner takes all the electoral votes. Considering what’s at stake for all of us, there is some merit to an assessment of the current system.

Using Michigan as an example, our state tends to elect Republicans to a majority of its congressional districts, mostly in rural districts. These districts lose their identity in Presidential elections, however, because the popular vote total from largely Democrat urban districts trumps all. The state also loses clout in presidential campaigns, because, as in Michigan’s case, for the last 25 years the popular vote has gone to Democrats. Knowing this, candidates tend to discount the need to campaig here.

Same goes for voters whose rural presidential votes are overwhelmed by urban majorities.

Michigan congressional districts can be redrawn every 10 years, subject to the latest Census results. The districts are inevitably redrawn to the advantage of the political party in power at the time; often with little consideration for the practical interests of the constituents affected, but always for the political advantage of the party in power. This accounts for the jigsaw puzzle appearance of the boundaries.

Therein lies the problem … but also the ultimate answer to the dilemma. If our state politicians could put together a committee of exceptional public servants who could author a bipartisan fair and balanced plan for congressional redistricting they’d be serving not only both sides of the political aisle, but good grief, the best interests of Michigan.

Editorial opinions are the consensus of The Daily News editorial board.

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