|Congressional Boundaries||Drawn by independent citizens redistricting commission|
|State Boundaries||Drawn by independent citizens redistricting commission|
Independent Redistricting Commission
Beginning in the 2020 redistricting cycle, Michigan's state legislative and congressional districts will be drawn by a 13-member independent citizen redistricting commission.
- The membership must include four members of each major party and five who are not affiliated with either. After the applications closed on June 1, 60 applicants from each major party and 80 unaffiliated with either were selected through a statistically-weighted random drawing to ensure demographic and geographic diversity by July 1. Half of each pool must also consist of applicants who received a randomly mailed paper application. Click here to learn more about the selection process. Recently, the 200 semifinalists were chosen by Secretary Benson, and you can read their application materials on the Commission’s website.
- By August 1, the four legislative leaders in the Michigan state Legislature can strike up to five applicants each for a total of 20. From this final list of applicants, 13 will be randomly selected by September 1, 2020. The commission must officially convene by October 15, 2020. Click here to learn more about the timeline.
The 2018 redistricting reform amendment sponsored by Voters Not Politicians establishes a set of strict, ranked criteria that the Commission must follow when drawing the maps. The Commission must explain in a report how the maps it adopts meet the criteria in the amendment.
In ranked order, the maps must follow all federal requirements, including the Voting Rights Act (VRA); be contiguous; respect communities of interest; not favor any party or incumbent; follow county, city, township lines; and be compact.
The Commission must hold at least 10 public hearings across the state before it begins drawing maps and at least another five public hearings across the state to present its draft maps before it adopts them. Before voting to adopt a plan, the commission must provide public notice of each plan that will be voted on and provide at least 45 days for public comment on the proposed plan or plans. Throughout the process, the commission must accept written public comment and public map submissions.
The 2011 redistricting process in Michigan led to some legal controversy. In April 2012, a federal court rejected a lawsuit brought by labor and civil rights advocacy groups challenging the state House plans. In October 2019, the Supreme Court sent back a federal lawsuit originating in Michigan (League of Women Voters v. Benson) to the district court to be dismissed in light of the Court's ruling in Rucho v. Common Cause that federal courts have no jurisdiction to hear partisan gerrymandering claims.
Commission Legal Challenge
In Daunt v. Benson (which was consolidated with Michigan Republican Party v. Benson), plaintiffs challenged the Independent Redistricting Citizens Commission's eligibility criteria and overall make-up. On July 6, 2020, the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals granted the defendants’ motions to dismiss the case, upholding the lower court that affirmed the constitutionality of the Commission.
Based upon a recent estimate of congressional seat changes following the 2020 census, Michigan is projected to lose one congressional seat.
- State legislative and congressional redistricting final plans deadline: November 1, 2021 (Art. IV § 6(7))
- Initial plans deadline: September 17, 2021 (to allow 45-day public comment)
The Census Bureau may delay sending population data to states until as late as July 31, 2021. Because of Michigan’s public hearing requirements, a delay would make it difficult for the Commission to meet the current deadlines. Formal action may be required to shift the redistricting schedule.
Participate in the Commission’s public input process.
- Obtain Michigan redistricting data from OpenPrecincts.
- Start to plan out what defines your community – whether it’s a shared economic interest, school districts, or other social or other cultural, historical, or economic interests – and how that can be represented on a map. This will come in handy once the commission starts collecting feedback.
- Use software tools such as Dave's Redistricting App and Districtr to draw district maps showing either (a) what a fair map would look like, or (b) where the community you believe should be better represented is located.