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St. Joe-Benton Harbor News

Monday, January 27, 2020

State wraps up workshop tour to recruit residents for redistricting commission

Local Government

By April Bamburg | Dec 30, 2019

Vote18

The state is finishing up a tour to look for residents to help form an independent commission to assist in redrawing political boundaries after the 2020 census is complete. 

The state is recruiting residents from 10 different cities across the state to apply for the commission. On Dec. 18, the statewide tour wrapped up in Benton Harbor.

“We’re essentially putting the power back into the hands of the public to tell us what they’re communities really look like and how they should be represented,” Michigan Department of State Director of Public Engagement Loida Tapia told ABC57.

Voters decided that citizens would be responsible for political districting, not legislators, and in 2018, amended the state constitution to put this into effect. Michigan is one of two states that has amended its constitution to allow this to happen in hopes to create districts that better represent the residents and to reduce gerrymandering.

The Michigan Independent Redistricting Commission will consist of 13 members: four Democrats, 4 Republicans, and five who are not affiliated with any major political party.

“Last year, millions of Michiganders voted to give citizens the power to draw our legislative districts, and now it is time to apply to be one of those citizens,” Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson told ABC57. “This is a first-of-its-kind opportunity for Michigan voters to draw fair and impartial electoral maps for our state. I hope every Michigander considers applying to participate.”

Individuals who are interested must be a registered voter who is eligible to vote but has not been elected to office or declared candidacy for a partisan office in the past six years.

Commission members will each earn approximately $40,000 as compensation for their service.

District maps must be enacted by Nov. 1, 2021, in order to become law by Dec. 31, 2021, and take effect for the 2022 elections. Applications are open until June 1, 2020.

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