Libertarian Party Opposes SB 1254, Banning Third Party Members from Redistricting Commission
December 10, 2018
CONTACT: Libertarian Party of Michigan Chair Bill Hall, (616) 460-9516, or Libertarian Party of Michigan Political Director Greg Stempfle, (313) 929-1789.
Lansing, MI – SB 1254 Would Ban Third Party Members and Many Independents from Serving on the Redistricting Commission.
Last week Republicans rushed SB 1254 through the State Senate. The bill places limits on third party members and independents serving on the Redistricting Commission added to the Michigan Constitution by Proposal 2, in an effort to preserve the Republican-Democrat duopoly controlling Michigan government.
If passed by the House and signed by the Governor, this bill would effectively prohibit ANY individual from serving on the Redistricting Commission as one of its five “independent” members who has merely “offered to… contribute… anything of value” to “any political party”. Unless, of course, they are already affiliated with the Democrat or Republican parties, who are guaranteed eight of the thirteen seats. In essence, this bill requires an “independent” to be someone who is apolitical; likely disengaged from Michigan’s state of affairs as a whole.
This language would deem anyone who paid a dollar to a political party for a button, sign, raffle ticket, a bag of popcorn, or at a yard sale fundraiser, to be affiliated with that party. It would deem “affiliated” any sole proprietor who even offered a discount on goods or services to political parties on a nondiscriminatory basis. This language explicitly violates the First Amendment to the US Constitution by restricting freedom of association and speech. And it would discourage anyone from swearing under oath on their application to join the Commission that they are “independent”, as who can possibly remember, or even know, whether they “contributed” to a political party in the past six years.
In section 5(b), SB 1254 states: “If an individual is applying as an independent, the individual must state under oath that he or she is not presently a member of any political party.” By contrast, the language of Proposal 2 was carefully crafted to only require that they attest that: “they do not affiliate with either of the major parties.” Read plainly, SB 1254 would disqualify from serving on the Commission all members of the Libertarian, Green, US Taxpayers, Working Class and Natural Law Parties.
As Libertarians, we strongly object to this measure, as it explicitly eliminates the involvement of any member of a “third party.” According to Ballot Access News in its March 2018 edition “The number of U.S. voters registered as Libertarian has surged by 92 percent since 2008.” Conversely, registrations by Democrats are down by 8 percent and Republicans are down by 5 percent over the same time period. Furthermore, “the number of voters registered as independent or with other parties has increased by 19 percent.” SB 1254 is another bald-faced attempt to unfairly prop up the failing Republican and Democratic parties.