2019 - 2021 Implementation Archives
The redistricting reform amendment created an Independent Citizens Redistricting Commission that would be tasked to draw Michigan’s state Senate, state House, and Congressional election district maps every 10 years using Census data.
The amendment requires that the Commission be made up of “buckets” of 4 Democrat* voters, 4 Republican* voters, and 5 voters who affiliate with neither of those parties. Commissioners in each of these buckets must agree to adopt the final maps.
All registered voters in Michigan are eligible to apply to serve on the Commission. A voter is disqualified from serving on the Commission if in the past 6 years, the person has been a:
✘ candidate or elected official of a partisan office
✘ leader or official of a political party
✘ consultant or employee of a politician or PAC
✘ employee of the legislature or political appointee
✘ registered lobbyist agent or employee of a registered lobbyist agent
✘ immediate family member of any of the above
The amendment disqualifies these individuals from serving on the Commission because they are most likely to have a conflict of interest when it comes to drawing Michigan’s election district maps. However, the amendment includes that these individuals can still participate in the redistricting process by offering testimony in person or in writing.
* or the two political parties with the largest representation in the legislature
The redistricting reform amendment specifies how the Commission members are selected. Many overlapping safeguards protect the process from being manipulated by partisan sources.
Criteria: The amendment establishes a set of strict, ranked criteria that the Commission must follow when drawing the maps. The Commission must explain in a report how the maps it adopts meet the criteria in the amendment.
The maps must:
- Follow all federal requirements, including the Voting Rights Act (VRA)
- Be contiguous
- Respect communities of interest
- Not favor any party or incumbent
- Follow county, city, township lines
- Be compact
Public Input: For the Commission’s maps to “respect communities of interest” as required by the amendment, the Commission must consider public input about (1) what interests citizens feel bind them together with others — whether it be economic, historical, ethnic, or other interests — and (2) where the boundaries of these “communities of interest” are.
The Commission will gather this input in a series of public hearings the Commission is required to hold in different parts of the state. The Commission must hold at least 10 public hearings across the state before it begins drawing maps and at least another five public hearings across the state to present its draft maps before it adopts them. The public may submit their own maps to the Commission for consideration.
Transparency: All of the Commission’s redistricting work must be done in public. Everything the Commission uses during its meetings and deliberations must be made publicly available. This includes reference documents, data, software used to draw maps, identity of consultants and staff, and any other information relating to the Commission’s work.
Funding & Resources: The Commission has the power to make its own rules and hire staff and experts, such as map-drawing experts, demographers and statisticians. The state government is required to fund the Commission.
Adopting the Final Maps: To adopt election district maps, a majority of the Commissioners (7 out of the 13) must agree, and that majority must include at least 2 commissioners from each bucket (Democrat, Republican, and unaffiliated).
The redistricting process centers around the U.S. Census. The federal government requires that districts must have nearly equal populations, which is why districts must be redrawn every 10 years following the Census.
However, the redistricting process begins well before the Census even starts! The application process is expected to open in late-2019 and will close on June 1, 2020.
Michigan's first Commission will convene on October 15th, 2020 and will have until November 1, 2021 to finalize the next set of election district maps.
Learn more about the important role of Communities of Interest here and how you can get involved in the new fair, impartial, and transparent redistricting process.
2021 Michigan Redistricting Commission Updates Blog – Volunteer-powered blog posts from August - December 2021 (42 total posts). This resource provides documentation that encompasses the first day of map drawing on August 19th, 2021 till the final vote to adopt maps on December 28th, 2021.