Group to shift focus to community mapping, engaging Communities of Interest
LANSING, Mich.–Voters Not Politicians today celebrated the enthusiasm from Michiganders to serve on Michigan’s first Independent Citizens Redistricting Commission, as the application period draws to a close. VNP volunteers began a broad campaign immediately after the 2018 election to encourage voters to apply for the Commission. VNP prioritized communities that are historically underrepresented in the political process, including people of color, young voters, and women.
“The support we’ve seen from the public for Michigan’s new redistricting commission is phenomenal,” said Nancy Wang, Executive Director of Voters Not Politicians, the grassroots group that led the successful campaign to pass Proposal 2 in 2018. “Thousands of Michiganders have signed up to be part of this historic process, and the size and diversity of the applicant pool sets up the Commission to reflect the demographic and geographic diversity of our state.”
Voters Not Politicians’ goals for education and outreach during the application period were to bring the public in and make the application process as inclusive and accessible as possible. Just like during the campaign to pass Proposal 2, VNP’s volunteers did the work and achieved impressive results. Highlights include:
- 12,133 voters on the VNP “interested in applying” list
- 44,607 visits to the VNP “interested in applying” page
- Collaborated with over 90 stakeholder organizations encouraging their members to apply
- 291 grassroots VNP-hosted events and external presentations with community partners
- 59 in-person and 10 online VNP application workshops with almost 1,000 total participants
- 247 earned media hits in 2019 and 48 media hits in 2020 to raise broad awareness throughout the state of the application process
Voters Not Politicians moved quickly to adapt to the COVID-19 public health crisis, launching 10 online application workshops and empowering VNP volunteers to provide free, remote notary services to more than a hundred applicants in the last weeks of the application period.
Next, the Secretary of State will oversee the random draw of 200 “semi-finalists” using statistical weighting methods applied by an independent firm (by July 1), the Legislative leadership will exercise up to 20 strikes total to the semi-finalist applicant pool (by August 1), and the final 13 commissioners – 4 who affiliate as Republicans, 4 who affiliate as Democrats, and 5 who affiliate with neither major party – will be randomly selected from the remaining semi-finalists (by September 1). A full timeline of constitutional requirements can be found on the Voters Not Politicians website here.
“We have already begun education and outreach around drawing Michigan’s new election district maps. Our goals going forward remain the same – to connect with and open up the new redistricting process to as many Michiganders as possible, particularly underrepresented communities,” said Wang. “We are currently working with the Princeton Gerrymandering Project and community partners to develop a user-friendly tool to empower communities of interest to submit maps and testimony to the redistricting commission, and we look forward to launching our educational program in the weeks to come.”
Voters Not Politicians is a nonpartisan advocacy organization that works to strengthen democracy by engaging people across Michigan in effective citizen action. Learn more at www.votersnotpoliticians.com.