In November 2018, the citizens of Michigan passed Proposal 2, which amended the Michigan Constitution to place congressional and state legislative redistricting in the hands of a new Michigan Independent Citizens Redistricting Commission (MICRC). The amendment also provides Michigan residents with opportunities to comment on the legislative maps being drawn and also participate in the actual district mapping process.
The 13-member MICRC committee has spent hundreds of hours in meetings, all open and accessible to the public. Experts have been retained to assist with the mapping process. The public has had the opportunity to provide input in a variety of forms, including at a first round of public testimony and through the public comment portal on the MICRC website.
DRAFTS OF MAPS AVAILABLE FOR CITIZEN REVIEW AND COMMENT
As the redistricting process nears completion, the MICRC has developed drafts of maps for 110 Michigan House, 38 Michigan Senate and 13 Michigan Congressional districts that are ready for review and comment from the public.
The maps that have been created can be found by clicking on the PROPOSED DRAFT MAPS button on the MICRC website (www.michigan.gov/MICRC). Maps of congressional, house and senate districts are presented under separate tabs. Keep in mind that the maps are “drafts” and may change based on work done at commission meetings. Updated maps will be posted on the website as they are available. Opening the map under the “Comment Link” tab, will show all comments from the public related to that proposed draft map. Additional comments may be added by those viewing the maps.
SUMBIT YOUR COMMENTS ON CURRENT PROPOSED MAPS
The “SUBMIT PUBLIC COMMENT” link will take you to the MICRC public comment portal (michigan-mapping.org). This site provides helpful resources for citizens wishing to offer their suggestions for district boundaries to the commission. A short video provides an introduction to redistricting in Michigan. “Written testimony”, “redistricting plan” and “community of interest plan” are defined. There are short videos with instructions for drawing maps and links to workshops and “study halls” provided by Districtr, the platform used for mapping services.
There is a form for submitting written comments and redistricting and community of interest plans. Comments on plans submitted by other Michigan residents may also be made. The “Submission Gallery” presents all comments and map submissions, close to 5,000…and counting!
PRIORITIES USED FOR DRAWING MAPS
In the work being done, whether by the MICRC or Michigan residents, the amendments to the Michigan constitution require that the new districts meet the following criteria:
- Are of equal population and comply with the Voting Rights Act
- Are geographically contiguous (all in one piece, not broken apart)
- Reflect the state’s diverse population and communities of interest
- Do not provide a disproportionate advantage to any political party
- Do not favor or disfavor an incumbent elected official or candidate
- Reflect consideration of county, city and township boundaries
- Are reasonably compact
Town hall meetings are scheduled to hear testimony from the public. The dates and locations are:
Monday, October 18–Grand Rapids, Amway Grand Plaza Hotel
Wednesday, October 20–Detroit, TCF Center
Thursday, October 21–Lansing, The Lansing Center
Monday, October 25–Gaylord, Treetops Resort
Tuesday, October 26–Flint, The Dort Center
The hearings will run from 1:00 – 3:30 pm and 5:00 – 8:00 pm. Anyone wishing to speak must register at the town hall. Participants will speak in the order in which they registered.
The MICRC will continue to meet following the town halls and are scheduled to on November 5 to adopt final maps. By November 14, the approved maps will be published, followed by 45 days of public comment. On December 30, a final vote is scheduled to be taken. The approved maps will be in place for elections held in 2022.
To stay up-to-date on redistricting news and events, visit the MICRC website. You can sign up to receive emails or texts about meetings. Meetings are livestreamed and available on YouTube. Follow MICRC on Facebook and other social media.
Independent Citizens Redistricting Commission (ICRC)
The Michigan Independent Citizens Redistricting Commission (MICRC), an independent body created by Michigan voters in 2018 by Constitutional amendment, is charged with redrawing and adopting new boundaries for Congressional, House and Senate voting districts following strict criteria in a public, transparent process.
LWVJA held a Community Forum in May to educate local residents about the Redistricting Process. To learn more click on the recording of our recent Townhall discussion.
Before drawing any lines, the MICRC is required by law to hold at least 10 public hearings and in fact are holding 16. The purpose of the hearings is to gathering public comment from Michigan residents on Communities of Interest and the state’s redistricting process. The first hearing was held May 17 in Jackson. Per the Michigan Constitution, the purposes for the public hearings are to:
- Inform the public about the redistricting process.
- Share the purpose and responsibilities of the commission.
- Solicit information from the public about potential redistricting plans for the Michigan Congressional, House, and Senate districts.
See the full meeting schedule here: https://www.michigan.gov/micrc/0,10083,7-418-97801-547695–,00.html
Additional information can be found at:
LWVMI and Redistricting
In 2012, after a year of study, the League of Women Voters of Michigan adopted a position on Redistricting supporting “the formation of an independent redistricting commission in lieu of the legislature as the primary redistricting body.” LWVMI promptly began an initiative throughout the state to educate voters as to their choices and their meaning. Many local Leagues participated in the efforts.
LWVMI became a leader in the Michigan Redistricting Collaborative, a coalition of grassroots organizations educating voters and working toward change. In 2018, the Collaborative, led by Voters Not Politicians, successfully secured over 400,000 signatures to have the Redistricting proposal put on the 2018 ballot. The measure passed and LWVMI took the lead in defending the new law against a number of lawsuits seeking to invalidate it.
Nationally, the League of Women Voters continues efforts in other states, working toward ensuring that voters elect their representatives and not the other way around.
Role of Jackson League
In 2014, Sue Smith, President of the Michigan League of Women Voters at that time, spoke at a JXN Community Forum to educate Jackson voters on redistricting. There was no active league in Jackson then but in attendance were several voters with an active past in the League along with several voters interested in bringing such a vital nonpartisan organization back to Jackson. Thanks to Sue Smith’s guidance, the Jackson League was re-born in March 2015. LWVJA immediately began informing Jackson voters about Redistricting choices and many members actively participated in collecting signatures to secure a place for the proposal on the Michigan ballot. We continued our advocacy through the successful passage of the ballot in November 2018. LWVJA has continued to educate about the ICRC.
History of the Independent Citizens Redistricting Commission (ICRC)
– 9,367 Michigan voters applied to participate to become a member of ICRC in 2020
– 200 Applicants randomly selected from 9367 to include:
- 60 affiliated with the Democratic Party
- 60 affiliated with the Republican Party
- 80 No affiliation with either party
– 13 Michigan Voters make up ICRC randomly chosen on August 17, 2020 from 200 applicants
- 4 affiliated with the Republican Party
- 4 affiliated with the Democratic Party
- 5 affiliated with neither major political party
– August 2020: Process of choosing ICRC members completed
– August 17, 2020: ICRC began meeting
– November 1, 2021: Deadline for ICRC to adopt redistricting plan for Michigan’s House and Senate and U.S. Congressional districts
– December 2021: New redistricted maps become law
– December 2021: ICRC disbands (or sooner) once Redistricting Mandate is completed
– January 1, 2022: New redistricted maps take effect for voting in Michigan elections
– January 1, 2022: Ten years since LWV began advocating for this change
– 2030: Redistricting Process begins again per Constitution of State of Michigan