Press Release: ERN Calls for End to Prison Gerrymandering in Michigan

June 5, 2023
Election Reformers Network


National Election Reform Organization Calls for end to Prison Gerrymandering in Michigan; Announces Support for MI SB 33

Bethesda, MD — Election Reformers Network is calling for an end to "prison gerrymandering" in Michigan.

The practice of counting incarcerated people in the districts in which they are serving their time—rather than from their home municipalities—is a fundamentally unfair practice that causes disproportionate representation in government bodies, and skews the distribution of resources across the state.

"Senate Bill 0033, introduced this session by Sen. Sylvia Santana, would right a long-standing wrong in Michigan," said Kevin Johnson, Executive Director of Election Reformers Network. "In recent years, Michiganders have made great strides in identifying and fixing unfair and outdated practices in their election ecosystem; this would be the latest in a series of reforms that is making Michigan a nationwide leader in election fairness." 

Notably, in 2018, voters approved an amendment to the state constitution which created an independent citizens redistricting commission, removing the inherent conflict of interest that arose from legislators drawing their own district maps; and in 2022, voters approved another amendment which clarified that state and local canvassing boards, a flashpoint of partisan contention in 2020, are purely ministerial in nature.

This latter amendment also introduced a number of other changes to the election process. In this session, the legislature has been quick to consider and address logistical issues and implementation for new policies like early voting. As representatives of the people of the state which approved independent redistricting in 2018, this is the legislature's opportunity to clean up this outstanding point of unfairness and ensure that incarcerated citizens will be counted as members of their home districts.

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