Michigan’s top elections official is gearing up for the state’s new redistricting commission.
Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson on Monday launched a new portal, RedistrictingMichigan.org, to provide Michiganders with up-to-date resources and information on the yet-to-be-formed commission that will take over drawing political maps from politicians by 2021.
More than 60 percent of voters last November approved Proposal 2, which was spearheaded by the group, Voters Not Politicians.
Benson says it’s her office’s job now to implement the voter-approved change and keep citizens involved.
“In establishing an Independent Citizens Redistricting Commission, the people of Michigan sent a clear message: They want citizens in charge of drawing our state’s legislative districts,” Benson said in a statement. “For the commission to succeed, continued citizen involvement, engagement and education is critical. This web page will provide one reliable source of information for citizens and, later this year, will provide a portal for citizens to apply to serve on the commission.”
Once implemented, the commission will consist of four people identifying as Democrats, four Republicans and five people unaffiliated with either political party.
Applications for the commission will start being accepted later this year and final selections will be made by September 2020. Commissioners will have purview over redistricting for Michigan’s state House, state Senate and congressional districts. Commissioners will be paid equal to at least 25 percent of the governor’s annual $159,300 salary.
The state’s ramp-up to the new commission comes as Benson and others await a three-judge panel’s decision in a federal case alleging partisan gerrymandering by Republicans in the 2011 redistricting.
As the Advance has previously reported, Michigan can, at least in theory, have more competitive political districts, but it’s unclear if that will be a result of the new commission.