EAST LANSING, Mich. – The citizens commission tasked with redrawing Michigan’s political maps received an email death threat on Wednesday (Oct. 27). The death threats did not target a specific individual.
The group was formed after Michigan voters approved a constitutional amendment forming the Michigan Independent Citizens Redistricting Commission.
“They basically said they wanted to kill the commission,” Edward Woods III, Communications Director for the MICRC, said.
The commission was to have started a public meeting at the Michigan State University Student Union at 1 p.m. Wednesday, but was delayed for two hours while Michigan State University police searched the building.
The police gave the all clear and the meeting resumed via Zoom, but paper was put over the windows. The commission said the paper was put up out of an abundance of caution.
Then the commission took the step to go into a closed session with their attorney to discuss the federal Voting Rights Act as well as the history of discrimination in voting in Michigan.
The commission said going into a closed session is in its purview. However, the language in the constitutional amendment forming the commission is unambiguous: “The commission shall conduct all of its business at open meetings.”
An attorney for the commission, Julianne Pastula, said no business was done in the closed session.
“There was no decision to be made, no business to be conducted. It was providing legal advice to our clients,” Pastula said.
Local 4 consulted with attorneys who disagree that the committee can go into a closed session for that reason since there is no pending litigation here.
The maneuver did unite both the Michigan Democrats and the Michigan GOP, both sides of the aisle have been highly critical of that decision.