Secretary Benson invites public to workshop for Independent Citizens Redistricting Commission

MARQUETTE, Mich. (WLUC) - Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson invites interested citizens to a free workshop Thursday, Dec. 5, in Marquette where they can sign up to serve on Michigan’s new Independent Citizens Redistricting Commission.

Voters amended the state constitution in the November 2018 general election to make citizens — not legislators or special interests — responsible for drawing new district lines for the Michigan Senate, Michigan House of Representatives and U.S. Congress.

“The invitation for all eligible registered voters to submit applications to serve on the Redistricting Commission is the beginning of Michigan’s effort as one of the first states in the nation with a citizen-led redistricting process,” Benson said.

The workshop is the first in the Upper Peninsula region and among a statewide series of events designed to promote awareness about the opportunity to serve on the commission and provide step-by-step
instructions about the application process. The Marquette workshop is:

• 5:30-7 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 5 (doors open at 5 p.m.), at Northern Michigan University in the Northern Center, Founders Room, 1401 Presque Isle Ave. in Marquette.

The workshop will include an overview of the new redistricting process and an opportunity for participants to fill out an application, which takes about 15 minutes. Notaries will be available to complete the notarized signature requirement for each application at no cost. Participants should bring a photo ID to the workshops so notaries can verify their identity.

“Last fall, millions of Michiganders voted to give citizens the power to draw our legislative districts, and now it is time to apply to be one of those citizens,” Benson said. “This is a first-of-its-kind opportunity for
Michigan voters to draw fair and impartial electoral maps for our state. I hope every Michigander considers applying to participate.”

All eligible Michigan voters are encouraged to apply to serve on the commission, which does not require any special skills or expertise. More information is available at RedistrictingMichigan.org.

The randomly selected 13-member redistricting commission will consist of four members who affiliate with the Republican Party, four members who affiliate with the Democratic Party and five members who are not affiliated with either major party.

Every 10 years following the U.S. census, district lines for political offices must be redrawn in states across the country to accurately reflect their population. Under Michigan’s new constitutional provision,
voters charged the Secretary of State with administering the application and selection process of commissioners, as well as providing administrative support as the “Secretary without a vote” of the
commission once it is formed.

The randomly selected commission of citizens will each earn approximately $40,000 as compensation for their service. Commission members also will have the authority to choose whether to reimburse their travel and other related expenses as part of their duties. The commission will convene in the fall of 2020 and will be required to enact district maps no later than Nov. 1, 2021.

The commission maps will become law by Dec. 31, 2021, and take effect for the 2022 election cycle.