n 2016, Katie Fahey, a Michigan woman with no political experience, put up a Facebook post asking if anyone she knew wanted to do something about gerrymandering, a pervasive practice of lawmakers drawing district lines to benefit their own party.
Michigan is one of the most gerrymandered states in the country. At that time, Republicans held majorities in the state legislature and congressional delegation, even though Democrats earned a significant share of the statewide vote, and the state is considered politically competitive. And the GOP lawmakers were not subtle: emails made public last year revealed a Republican aide bragging about cramming “Dem garbage” into certain Michigan districts in 2011, as they drew the current electoral boundaries.
But Fahey’s post would create a movement that could provide a roadmap for making US elections fairer. Coordinating over Google Docs and fanning out across the state, her effort grew into a group called Voters Not Politicians that would eventually amend the Michigan constitution to strip redistricting power from lawmakers. This week, Voters Not Politicians succeeded in protecting the new reform from yet another attack from Republicans in the state – underscoring how deeply entrenched gerrymandering has become, and how hard it is to end.