The first 1,000 successfully completed and notarized applications to serve on the first-ever Michigan Independent Citizens Redistricting Commission have been received and processed by the Michigan Department of State.
“This process has been citizen-led from beginning to end, and it is inspiring to see so many Michiganders actively participate in our democracy and get involved,” said Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson. “The results so far have exceeded our expectations and reflect overwhelming public support and excitement for the opportunity for voters to determine fair and competitive districts.”
Ultimately, the commission of 13 randomly selected applicants will have exclusive authority to adopt district boundaries in Michigan for the state Senate, state House of Representatives and U.S. Congress.
The first 1,000 successfully completed and notarized applications were returned to the department prior to December 2019. Staff continues to process applications that have been received subsequently and periodic updates will be provided to the public between now and the June 1, 2020, application deadline. A breakdown of the geographic and demographic profile of the pool of processed applicants will be released by the department within weeks.
The state is bringing on new temporary staff to help process the stacks of applications that are pending review, while more applications continue to arrive daily. Applications were mailed to 250,000 randomly selected voters Dec. 30. The application is also available online at RedistrictingMichigan.org.
“We want applications from as many people as possible, from all backgrounds and regions of the state,” Benson said.
The Michigan Constitution requires all applications to be signed in the presence of a notary and returned to the Department of State by June 1, 2020. Then, 200 semifinalists must be randomly selected from the pool, sixty of whom must affiliate with the Democratic Party, 60 with the Republican Party, and 80 must not affiliate with either party. Half of these semifinalists must be recipients of the random mailing.
The final citizen commission, once selected, will be made up of four voters who affiliate with the Democratic Party, four who affiliate with the Republican Party, and five who do not affiliate with either major party. The deadline for the commission to adopt a redistricting plan for Michigan’s districts is Nov. 1, 2021. District lines for political offices in Michigan, as in other states, must be redrawn every decade following the U.S. Census.
Under the new constitutional provision, voters assigned the Secretary of State the responsibility of administering the application and selection process of commissioners, as well as providing administrative support to the commission once formed. The commission itself will be an autonomous body.