Kivela supports dismantling political gerrymandering

MARQUETTE — Representatives from an organization called Voters not Politicians have been in the U.P. twice as a part of their state wide tour to gather signatures to dismantle political gerrymandering. State Representative John Kivela weighed in on the situation.

As it stands now, the dominating party of a state draws the boundary lines for voting districts. Voters not Politicians is looking to amend the constitution and remove politicians from drawing them. The group has drawn large crowds at both the Houghton and Marquette town halls, bringing the issue to the attention of the citizens.

A representative from the group told the Marquette audience that gerrymandering is practiced on both a national and state level and both Republicans and Democrats are guilty. Representative Kivela agreed.

“I think it leads to poor representation at times,” said Kivela. “I would always, and I’ve been very public about this, that I would support a non-partisan approach to establishing boundaries. Take the politics out of representation and make it non-partisan.”

The group is advocating for a citizen’s council picked from a list of registered voters, much like jury selection.

“I’m open to any type of process that takes the political nature out of it. So if it’s computer generated, if it’s non-partisan officials leading this, if it’s an independent board that’s appointed to look at it, I am open to any discussion that does not involve partisan politics in dictating the geographic boundaries of districts,” Kivela added.