Participating in Redistricting
The redistricting reform amendment is a great opportunity for the people of Michigan to participate in how our election district maps are drawn. By including real Michiganders, we can ensure that the maps reflect our communities using a fair, impartial and transparent process. But the success of the Commission and the new redistricting process requires Michiganders to participate by:
- Serving on the Commission; or
- Giving input to the Commission during the map drawing process
Serving on the Commission
All registered voters in Michigan are eligible to apply to serve on the Commission unless in the past 6 years, the person has been a:
✘ candidate or elected official of 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 Commission must:
- Hold public hearings across the state both before and after the maps are drawn
- Ensure that maps follow a set of strict criteria
- Compromise across party lines to adopt a final set of maps
- Conduct all business in open hearings, following the Open Meetings Act
- Submit a report detailing the decision making process, any data and software used to draw the maps, and all correspondence during the process of drawing the maps
Commissioners will each be paid a yearly salary during the redistricting process and the Commission is granted a budget to perform its duties.
Members of the general public play a key role in the redistricting process even if they are not selected to serve on the Commission.
The amendment requires the Commission to hold at least 10 public hearings throughout the state before it proposes any district maps. Members of the public can attend one or more of these public hearings where the Commissioners will solicit community input about what communities of interest voters identify with and want represented in government. These hearings can begin before the census data is released to the state by the federal government.
To maximize public participation, the Commission shall provide advance public notice of its meetings and hearings. These public hearings must be open to all Michiganders and must be planned to encourage attendance and participation across the state, including the use of technology that would allow real-time, virtual participation and feedback during the hearings.
During the map drawing process, any member of the public may submit to the Commission maps that show the boundaries of their communities. Those submissions are public records.
After the maps are proposed, the Commission must hold at least 5 more public hearings throughout the state to review the draft maps and to solicit further public input, including comments and feedback.
During these public hearings, the Commission will discuss the proposed maps along with all the supporting material that must be published for public record. These materials include reports, reference materials, and all of the data used to draw and test the maps. The Commission must also submit the computer source code used to produce and test different maps to ensure that no political bias is interfering with the process. These materials will enable the public to reproduce the Commission’s maps and verify that they meet the constitutional criteria for fairness and impartiality.