Fairer voting a bipartisan winner in midterms

Don Henry| November 7th, 2018

Red state, blue state, it didn't really matter Tuesday in the places where voters got a chance to say whether they wanted to claim a spot at the center of the redistricting process. They mostly said yes. Initiatives designed to make all elections less partisan and more competitive were projected to win easily in Michigan, Colorado and Missouri. In Utah, we may be looking at a photo finish. See below for details.

Updated at 7 a.m., Nov. 7

Ballot initiatives in Michigan, Utah, Missouri and Colorado sought to make fairness the hallmark of the districts that will be redrawn after the 2020 census.   

Although they take different approaches, all the measures are getting support from a billionaire Texas couple John and Laura Arnold, whose foundation has poured nearly $8 million into the effort, according to the Associated Press.

Here’s your election day crib sheet:


Results: Passed, with a 61 percent to 39 percent ratio

Proposal 2 would amend the state constitution in 11 different places to make way for a 13-member, non-partisan redistricting commission. Registered voters who want to serve on a commission will just need to submit an application. If not disqualified by Republican or Democratic leaders, their names will go into a random drawing to choose commision members.

In one of the few polls on these initiatives, 60 percent of likely Michigan voters polled by the Detroit News supported the measure.


Results: Too close to call, with a 50.5  'yes' and  49.5 percent 'no'

Proposition 4 would form a seven-member redistricting commission with members appointed by the governor and the majority and minority parties in the state legislature.

Residents of the Navajo Nation are campaigning to pass the measure as a way of increasing their marginalized voices, reports The Guardian. Twin court rulings in 2016 were a step in the right direction for residents, many of whom lived in places that have no running water and electricity. 


Results: Passed with a 62 percent to 38 percent ratio

Amendment 1, a broad package of election and ethics reforms called Clean Missouri, would add a demographer to a redistricting process that already includes two separate bi-partisan commissions. Under the amendment, the demographer, not the commissions, would get the process rolling by  drawing aninitial map, based on a number of best practices.

Further, the amendment would enforce guidelines designed to foster racial fairness. Opponents say those guidelines are unrealistic.


Results: Passed with a roughly 71 percent to 29 percent ratio

Amendments Y and Z would put unaffiliated voters on two new 12-member commissions — one for Congressional and one for legislative. Each commission would have four Democrats, four Republicans and four unaffiliated voters.

Pennsylvanians would likely be pleased by provisions that seek to squash any backroom deals by enforcing a 72-hour waiting period before a map can  enacted and by requiring the all proceedings be held in the open.