LANSING, Mich. — Michigan residents will have multiple opportunities to express their thoughts on the state’s new redistricting process.
The Michigan Independent Citizens Redistricting Commission will hold a total of 16 public hearings across the state to gather public input on the new process.
The first public hearing will be held in Jackson on Tuesday, and hearings will continue through July.
The commission is tasked with redrawing Michigan's congressional, state Senate, and state House districts in a fair way.
The way a district is drawn plays a large role in who gets elected and who doesn't. In the past, whichever political party held a majority in the state legislature was in charge of redrawing the district lines every 10 years, a practice that led to less competitive elections.
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“In 2018 Michigan voters took fate into their hands and drastically shifted the redistricting process by adopting proposal 18-2. Instead of legislators drawing lines for their interests, citizens would draw lines that best represented their interests and respected their historical, cultural, and economic perspectives,” said Suann Hammersmith who serves as the commission’s executive director.
The commission includes 13 registered voters who are selected through an application process. Within the commission are four Democrats, four Republicans, and five who do not affiliate with either major political party.
To draw the maps, "the criteria are ranked in order and they’re delineated for us in the constitution from one to seven,” explained Commissioner Rebecca Szetela.
Some of the criteria are geography and population size. The commission is specifically required to avoid favoring or disfavoring a politician or political party.
“We also have to reflect consideration of city, county, and township boundaries in drawing our maps and then the districts themselves have to be reasonably compact,” Szetela said. “This is an entirely new process for the state of Michigan, it’s a very exciting time. The MICRC empowers the citizens to provide input as to where they think district lines should be drawn.”
The commission is required to hold at least 10 public hearings before drawing any new maps. The public hearings will be held in a hybrid fashion, participants can attend the meeting in person or submit their comments online.
For more information and to leave a comment visit: www.Michigan.gov/MICRC or for questions call (833) YOU-DRAW [(833) 968-3729.
WATCH THE ENTIRE MEETING
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