Michigan redistricting commission to hold public hearings

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GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — The commission tasked with redrawing Michigan’s legislative lines is planning 16 public hearings for the coming weeks and months.

The Michigan Independent Citizens Redistricting Commission is seeking input from people around the state about what the lines for U.S. House and state Legislature districts should look like.

The first public meeting in West Michigan is scheduled for May 13 at the Wings Event Center in Kalamazoo. The full list of hearings can be found on the MCIRC’s website.

Members are looking to make communication between commission members and the public as easy as possible once the meetings begin. Outreach Director Edward Woods III said there are different ways to engage. In addition to the meetings, you can submit a comment online. Public comment will not be taken over the phone.

In 2018, Michiganders voted in favor of a ballot proposal to establish an independent commission that would be responsible for drawing the districts. The commission is made up of four self-identified Republicans and Democrats each and five self-identified independents.

“For the first time in Michigan’s history, the MICRC will lead the redistricting process to draw fair and independent maps. The MICRC has the exclusive authority in this new, redistricting process,” Suann Hammersmith, a former CEO of the Lenawee Community Foundation who now serves as the executive director of the MICRC, said during a Monday virtual press conference announcing the hearings.

The commission was supposed to be done drawing its lines by Nov. 1, but says a delay on the release of 2020 census data is going to make that a problem. It has asked the state Supreme Court to OK an extension to Jan. 25.

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