The Michigan Secretary of State’s office just released the official application for the Citizens Redistricting Commission. While the actual deadline to submit the maps, November 1st, 2021, is more than two years away, a lot will happen between now and then. And while only 13 people will be selected to serve on the commission, everyone has an opportunity to voice their thoughts during the process. So what does the timeline of the process look like?
Commissioner Applications and Selection
Eligible residents have until June 1, 2020, to submit an application to the Secretary of State’s office. Any registered voter who is not deemed ineligible is free to apply, but to ensure that there is a large, geographically diverse pool, the Secretary of State also will mail out applications to residents until 10,000 applications are returned from the mailers.
In June of 2020, the Secretary of State will randomly select a pool of 200 applicants using statistical weighting to have the pool of potential commissioners match the demographic and geographic makeup of the state. The application includes questions of age, race and ethnicity, and gender to add to the demographic weighting. The pool will include 60 self-identified Democrats, 60 self-identified Republicans, and 80 applicants that do not identify with either of the two major political parties. The randomized selection process must take place by July 1, 2020.
The majority and minority leaders of the Michigan House and Senate each can remove five names from the pool of 200 randomly selected applicants, leaving a total of 180 applicants. The legislative leadership must submit their decisions by August 1, 2020. Once the list is finalized, the Secretary of State randomly selects the thirteen commissioners (four Democrats, four Republicans, and five that identify with neither party) from the remaining pool.
The Commission Timeline
Once the commissioners are selected, they are required to host their first meeting by October 15, 2020. The state should be receiving the results of the 2020 census at about this time. While the commission only has one deadline (to finish the maps by November 1, 2021), there will be many benchmarks along the way.
Before the commission begins creating any sets of draft maps, they must seek input from the public on what they deem important for the commission. Commissioners will travel to a minimum of 10 locations across the state to hold public hearings, where anyone can come and voice their thoughts on what the states districts should look like.
After listening to the public and consulting amongst themselves, the commissioners are allowed to make drafts of district maps. These drafts are then issued to the public for an open comment period for citizens to provide feedback. The commissioners then review the public comments, and vote on the final map (for an explanation of the voting process, see our analysis of Proposal 2). Once the maps are finalized, the plans become law 60 days later, and will be in effect for the 2022 primary and general elections.
Engagement in the Process
While the state’s maps won’t be finalized for another two years, the process has already started. And the ability for every citizen to engage in the process was front and center with Proposal 2. While only 13 will be selected to join the commission based on these applications, there will be several steps in the process to allow anyone to air their thoughts on the redistricting process.