Thursday, April 22, 2021

Plans for state, federal voting redistricting discussed

Members of the Plymouth City Commission heard plans for the redrawing of national and state voting districts recently.

Sue Hammersmith, director of the Michigan Independent Citizens Redistricting Commission (MICRC), attended a recent meeting of the commissioners to update them on the procedures. She noted that the group will begin scheduling public hearings in May throughout the state to inform residents and seek input from area citizens regarding the redistricting process.

She said a planned public hearing set for June 8 in Novi will be the nearest to Plymouth although the time and venue have not yet been finalized.

Last September, state officials authorized a group of randomly-selected citizens to redraw U.S. Congressional and Michigan State House and Senate district lines. The lines are redrawn every 10 years following the U.S. Census to accurately reflect their population. Prior to a vote that amended the state constitution in the November 2018 general election, legislators gerrymandered the lines, sometimes to benefit special interests.

Now, the new commission is composed of 13 randomly-selected Michigan registered voters: four who affiliate with the Democratic Party, four who affiliate with the Republican Party, and five who do not affiliate with either major political party.

After the first round of public hearings, the commission will hire experts to draw voting district maps, and then schedule hold eight more public hearings before the redistricting is finalized. 

The commission has a deadline of Nov. 1, which could prove difficult with the census results being delayed until Sept. 30, Hammersmith said, and the group being mandated to have a 45-day comment period prior to adoption. The commissioners are petitioning the Michigan Supreme Court to extend the deadline, she explained.

The Michigan Independent Citizens Redistricting Commission wants public input on this important topic, she added, and suggested residents visit or send them an email at or a letter to P.O. Box 30318, Lansing, MI 48909.