DETROIT – Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson joined other officials and community leaders on Thursday, Oct. 24, in Detroit to announce the state’s new independent Citizens Redistricting Commission. The state is now accepting applications from eligible Michigan residents to help draw the state’s next political district map.
The application, which went live on Thursday, can be found on the government’s website at RedistrictingMichigan.org. The application window will close on June 1.
Applicants will need to fill out the application in the presence of a notary public. More information on where to find a notary can be found can be found on the website.
The application and awareness campaign are part of an effort to give citizens more power over how their localities are drawn along political lines. Voters showed strong support for the 2018 ballot initiative that created the commission.
The commission will be made up of four Democrats, four Republicans and five unaffiliated independents. The secretary of state is required to mail applications to a minimum of 10,000 randomly selected Michigan voters.
The rules for selection for the commission strictly prohibit certain partisan political activities like being an elected official holding partisan office, being a lobbyist or an employee of one or being consultants and employees of partisan officials and political action committees, among other restrictions.
Out of the 200 randomly selected finalists, party leaders in the Michigan legislature will review finalists. The finalists will be compensated for their work redrawing maps from the fall of 2020 through the fall of 2021, based on 2020 Census data, in an amount totaling about $40,000.
Michiganders, it’s time. Today, the application to serve on Michigan's first Independent Citizens Redistricting Commission goes live at our website, RedistrictingMichigan.org. Play your part in drawing Michigan's future.
Posted by Jocelyn Benson on Thursday, October 24, 2019
“Michiganders, its time,” Benson said in a Facebook video announcing the application commission. “In 2018, millions of you voted the power to draw our legislative districts on a Citizens Redistricting Commission.
“This is an historic opportunity to draw Michigan’s future. You can have the power, simply by signing up, to shape our democracy for the next decade.”
At the press conference in Cadillac Place, officials and dignitaries spoke to the excitement of the historic moment in Michigan’s history.
Several city and county clerks spoke about the importance of the new initiative.
“Together, we are speaking on behalf of the city, township and county clerks across Michigan who are committed to ensuring Michigan’s elections are fair and impartial,” Ann Arbor City Clerk Jacqueline Beaudry said on behalf of her state wide colleagues.
Other municipal officials joined representatives from local institutions to say the redistricting commission fell in line with their vision of strong, vibrant and fair local governance.
The Arab American News Publisher Osama Siblani was among the dignitaries in attendance.
“It’s imperative that leaders in communities across the state, especially those historically underrepresented populations, spread the word about this opportunity,” he said. “It will be my privilege to help the leaders and organizations gathered here today to reach potential commissioners in Dearborn and Arab Americans across our state.
“I encourage other media outlets to help educate the public on their opportunity to serve.”