Michigan is in the midst of a redistricting effort.
In the United States, districts are redrawn every 10 years to reflect demographic changes in the state.
This time it will be different as an independent group, the Independent Citizens Redistricting Commission, will be redrawing the boundaries instead of the state legislature, “Michigan’s Independent Citizens Redistricting Commission — a group of five independents, four Republicans and four Democrats randomly selected from a pool of thousands of applicants — is constitutionally obligated to redraw the state’s Congressional, state House and state Senate political district maps based on the latest U.S. Census data and a myriad of other criteria, including communities of interest.”
There are a number of communities the commission hopes to address, “Communities can live within a contiguous area, for instance, or share common interests, heritages or ethnicities.
“The idea is to build districts that work for the citizens, and actually works for the representative,” Chamberlain said, adding that if a representative has a coherent district, it’s easier for them and their staff to actually serve their constituents.”
This can be an opportunity for groups that have been underserved by the previous districts, “The Hispanic community is one of several with high hopes for the newly created Michigan Independent Citizens Redistricting Commission...The process replaces one that was controlled for decades by Michigan politicians that produced some of the most gerrymandered districts in the nation. By law, the redistricting commission must now take into consideration Michigan’s diversity and “communities of interest,” a broad term defined as those that share historical, economic or cultural similarities.”
Republicans have had a number of issues with the new commission. This was expected as over the last couple decades the Republicans have benefited from gerrymandered districts, “For the past two decades, the GOP has been the official map maker of Michigan legislative districts. They’ve made the most of their opportunities, drawing legislative maps that helped preserve majorities in the state House and Senate and within the state’s congressional delegation, using strokes large and small, according to a Bridge Magazine analysis of precinct-level census and voting data.”
Republicans have already tried to slow the process down as they tried to get the attorney presiding over the commission tossed out. The commission selected Bruce Adelson in April but the GOP claimed his political contribution meant he would not be partial, upon further investigation Adelson disclosed that he has donated to both parties and it was deemed a non issue.
The 15 person council is continuing on their mission and is preparing to hear in person suggestions at a number of live events held in the state.
- May 11: Jackson - American 1 Event Center, 128 W. Ganson St.
- May 13: Kalamazoo - Wings Event Center, 3600 Vanrick Dr.
- May 18: Marquette - The Northern Center at Northern Michigan University, 1402 Presque Isle Ave.
- May 20: Gaylord - Treetop Resorts, 3962 Wilkinson Rd.
- May 25: Midland - Great Hall Banquet & Convention Center, 5121 Bay City Rd.
- May 27: Lansing - Lansing Center, 333 E. Michigan Ave.
- June 1: Flint - Dort Financial Center, 3501 Lapeer Rd.
- June 3: Dearborn - Ford Community and Performing Arts Center, 15801 Michigan Ave.
- June 8: Novi - Suburban Collection Showplace, 46100 Grand River Ave.
- June 10: Pontiac - Centerpoint Marriott, 3555 Centerpoint Pkwy.
- June 15: Detroit - The Village Dome at Fellowship Chapel, 7707 W. Outer Dr. June 17 Detroit - TCF Center (formerly Cobo Hall), 1 Washington Blvd.
- June 22: Port Huron - Blue Water Convention Center, 800 Harker St.
- June 24: Warren - MRCC Banquet Center, 23401 Mound Rd.
- June 29: Muskegon - VanDyke Mortgage Convention Center, 939 Third St.
- July 1: Grand Rapids - DeVos Place, 303 Monroe Ave NW
There is also a portal where residents can submit suggestions as well as their own map for how the districts should be drawn.
It can be accessed here: Michigan Public Comment Portal.