Letters: Voters Not Politicians a volunteer effort
Re: Nolan Finley’s Sept. 9 column, “Make ballot measures go away”: I am a 62-year old woman who became involved with Voters Not Politicians in February of 2017 because when I attended the first organizational meeting, I found a bunch of concerned citizens like myself who were determined to do what it takes to end gerrymandering in Michigan. Being rather cynical, it was a refreshing surprise to find the real deal, a non-partisan grassroots group on a singular mission
Mr. Finley states that we are “backed by private interests” and that “citizens aren’t out there collecting petitions”.
What a slap in the face to me and 4,000 other Michigan citizens from all parties who scraped up the money to pay for the privilege of standing in the heat, rain, and snow to obtain over 425,000 signatures in order to effect positive change. Let me assure you that the process is difficult enough already.
Toni Corley Wilson
Nolan Finley was entirely wrong on three key points concerning Voters Not Politicians.
1. Prop 2 got on the ballot because of over 2000 grassroots volunteers and over 315,000 individual signatures. It all started with a Facebook post and grew from there. If that is not grassroots, I do not know what is.
2. This ballot initiative was not backed by a political party.
3. None of the people who collected signatures on this petition received money for their efforts.
When I saw the physical shapes of our voting districts, I signed up and volunteered to collect signatures. I’ve never felt so compelled to help Michigan in my life.
Finley’s column was filled with statements that, while possibly true for other proposals, were outright wrong regarding Proposal 2. I know people who circulated Prop 2 petitions, and they were as passionate and invested in being a part of a positive change for our state as anyone could be.
If, as Mr. Finley writes, we should “be a … no vote on ballot measures this fall” because “big money backers will get the message that there's no return on their investment,” then you should absolutely vote “YES” on Prop 2.
Voters Not Politicians demonstrably had no big money backers and clearly reflected the grassroots energy of the citizens who worked to get it on the ballot.
Nolan Finley conflated the process behind two ballot measures and confused Michigan voters. He used the process behind the marijuana proposal to taint the Voters Not Politicians proposal that will be on the ballot.
Voters Not Politicians is and always has been an all-volunteer effort with no paid petition circulators and no big money interests behind it. In fact, as Finley knows very well, the big money interests oppose this measure which could interfere with their ability to purchase legislators and legislation.
The right to petition is a time tested tool for citizens to influence government which goes back hundreds of years, guaranteed on the federal level by our precious U.S. Constitution.
Due to gerrymandering, our Michigan Legislature has proven itself unable or unwilling to pass legislation that benefits most of our citizenry, instead repeatedly enacting laws that benefit wealthy, conservative business interests, to the detriment of many.
Our right to petition allows us to have input into state government.
The current petition in support of Proposal 2 addresses this, and is in the interests of all Michigan citizens.