For Immediate Release
August 17, 2020
Contact: Elizabeth Battiste; 248-404-7846
LANSING–Voters Not Politicians, the grassroots, nonpartisan group that led the successful 2018 campaign to end partisan gerrymandering in Michigan, today celebrated the random selection of 13 voters who will serve on the state’s first Independent Citizens Redistricting Commission.
“Voters Not Politicians and our thousands of volunteers are ecstatic to see years of work culminate in Michigan’s first Independent Citizens Redistricting Commission!” said Nancy Wang, Executive Director of Voters Not Politicians. “Hundreds of voters were involved in drafting the redistricting reform amendment in a process that started with 33 town halls in 33 days. It’s exciting to see that the fair, impartial, and transparent process voters envisioned is working as it was intended.”
The process of selecting the 13 commissioners included an open application period, as well as applicants who received one of 250,000 applications mailed by the Secretary of State encouraging eligible voters to apply to serve on the commission. Applicants with an inherent conflict of interest – lobbyists, partisan politicians, and their staff and immediate family members – were disqualified from serving on the commission. A random selection process that included limited legislative strikes to the semi-finalist pool resulted in today’s final selection of 13 commissioners – four Republicans, four Democrats, and five voters who do not affiliate with either party.
“Now we are focused on ensuring that Michiganders across the state are empowered to participate in the public hearing process. We’re developing a tool to help the public map their communities of interest and submit their maps, along with effective testimony, to the commission to inform Michigan’s next set of legislative and Congressional district maps,” said Wang. “That’s what voter-led redistricting is about – for the people to have a say in how our maps are drawn through a transparent, accountable process.”
The final list of commissioners is available online at www.redistrictingmichigan.org. Michigan’s first Independent Citizens Redistricting Commission must convene its first meeting by October 15. The Governor and Legislature are required to approve a budget for the commission for FY 2021 by December 1, and the commission must hold at least 15 public meetings to gather public input before November 1, 2021. A major factor in the commissions’ work will be the federal government’s release of the 2020 U.S. Census data, which is expected in July 2021. A full timeline of the redistricting process as laid out in the constitution can be found here.
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.