Time is running out to redraw Michigan’s political maps

Commission aims to have public input on new maps

An independent commission is drawing out Michigan’s new political maps, but time is running out to get the job done.

DETROIT – An independent commission is drawing out Michigan’s new political maps, but time is running out to get the job done.

The process to reorder Michigan is a tall order -- one of the most competitive and important election states in the country where political eyes have been glued to how things would shake out.

Over the past few months, the Michigan Independent Citizens Redistricting Commission -- which was created after a statewide vote -- has been trying to redraw Michigan’s election lines, which would change where people vote and who they vote for.

The Michigan Independent Citizens Redistricting Commission kicked off a new phase where they let voters draw maps and give input as the commission does the painstaking work of drawing each new line.

Related: Michigan selects 13 commissioners to redraw voting lines

“Up to this point, their process has got some concerns from me,” said Canton Township clerk Michael Siegrist. “I was watching their process. They were talking a lot about style and I wanted them to talk about substance.”

Siegrist said he’s concerned about time and fairness. He said putting similar groups together or intentionally breaking groups up would create permanent minorities -- a process known as packing and cracking. He said that’s not the right way to go, even if everyone in a new district may vote the same.

“To pack and excessive amounts of democratic voters into a city, it results in a lot of wasted votes. To pack a bunch of republican voters in very conservative districts that are just a lot of land is also not fair,” Siegrist said.

The deadline for the districts to be redrawn is Nov. 1, but public comment on the final maps start in mid-September. After delays in the Census, it’s unclear how good the new maps might be.

“They’ve got to get these maps done. They’ve got to have good solid maps that are constitutionally sound done in time for the Midterm Elections,” Siegrist said. “We have to do our precincts like that, cities have to do their wards around that. It’s a big deal.”

More: Michigan politics

About the Authors:

Grant comes to Local 4 from Oklahoma City. He joins the news team as co-anchor of Local 4 News Today weekend mornings and is a general assignment reporter.

Dane is a producer and media enthusiast. He previously worked freelance video production and writing jobs in Michigan, Georgia and Massachusetts. Dane graduated from the Specs Howard School of Media Arts.