Michigan wants you to help redraw its political districts

Dec 3, 2019

A new independent commission will re-draw Michigan’s political districts in 2020, and the state wants as many people as possible to apply to be on it.

The commission will consist of 13 randomly chosen voters — four democrats, four republicans and five independents.

It was created by a ballot initiative in 2018 to take redistricting out of the hands of legislators. The U.S. District Court ruled earlier this year that Michigan's political districts are unconstitutionally gerrymandered.

Workshops are being held around the state to help voters with the application process.

At a workshop Tuesday in Traverse City, Sally Marsh of the Michigan Department of State took questions from three dozen attendees.

"People are excited about this opportunity, excited about this new change in Michigan," said Marsh. "A lot of the questions tend to be about how this will impact their lives if they’re selected."

Alta Walters of Cedar took the opportunity to apply on-site.

“We need to do something to validate the process so that people understand that it’s transparent, that it’s not backroom politics and smoke-filled rooms," she said. "This is a step in that direction.”

Traverse City was the 8th workshop — two more will be held, in Marquette and Benton Harbor. In addition to the workshops, applications will be mailed to tens of thousands of voters in January. Interested voters can also apply online.

Correction: A previous version of this post said the 13-member commission will consist of four democrats, four republicans and four independents. That was an error. The commission will actually consist of four democrats, four republicans and five independents. The post has been corrected.