Mission: To lead Michigan's redistricting process to assure Michigan's Congressional, State Senate, and State House district lines are drawn fairly in a citizen-led, transparent process, meeting Constitutional mandates.
Vision: To chart a positive course for elections based on fair maps for Michigan today and for the future.
Meet Commission Staff
Suann Hammersmith, Executive Director - Bio
Julianne Pastula, General Counsel - Bio
Edward Woods III, Communications and Outreach Director - Bio
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
We hope the following FAQ will help answer your questions about the Michigan Independent Citizens Redistricting Process. We will continue to update this page as more information becomes available. Have a question that isn't answered here? Please email Redistricting@Michigan.gov and our team will respond directly. You can also find us on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.
The Basics -- The Commission -- Creating District Maps -- Application -- Random Selection -- Role of the Secretary -- Hearings, Meetings and Public Comment -- Public Comment Portal (Written Public Comment)
Q: Can I apply to be a member of the citizens redistricting commission?
The application period to serve as commissioner has closed for the 2020-2021 redistricting cycle. You are welcome to view an archive of the application materials. You can stay updated on the process by signing up to receive updates or following us on social media @RedistrictingMI on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.
Q: What is the citizens redistricting commission?
In November 2018, Michigan voters amended the Constitution with Proposal 18-2 or the "Voters Not Politicians" ballot proposal, a constitutional amendment to "establish a commission of citizens with exclusive authority to adopt district boundaries for the Michigan Senate, Michigan House of Representatives and U.S. Congress, every 10 years." Now, the Michigan constitution empowers an independent commission of citizens to draw district lines for the Michigan Legislature and Michigan's members of Congress for the 2022 election and beyond.
Q: Who serves on the citizens redistricting commission?
The constitutional amendment establishes a commission of 13 registered voters randomly selected through an application process. Of the 13 commissioners, four affiliate with the Democratic Party, four affiliate with the Republican Party, and five do not affiliate with either major political party.
Q: When did the citizens redistricting commission begin meeting?
The commission was convened September 17-18, 2020 and has continued meeting since then. You can sign up to receive meeting updates.
Q: When will the district lines proposed by the citizens redistricting commission take effect?
The commission will use data from the 2020 federal decennial census and citizen input to determine district lines no later than November 1, 2021. These district plans will take effect prior to the 2022 primary and general elections.
Q: What is the citizens redistricting commission timeline?
You can read or print a detailed timeline of the new redistricting process here.
Q: Where can I read the section of the Michigan constitution related to the Michigan independent citizens redistricting commission?
You can read this section of the Michigan constitution.
Q: What if I don't want to be a commissioner or I wasn't randomly selected - can I still be involved?
Yes. Citizen involvement throughout the redistricting process is critical to ensuring it is independent and fair. If you were not selected to serve as a commissioner, you will still be able to submit maps to the Commission for consideration and otherwise advocate for your interests before the Commission. Please sign up to receive updates on how to stay involved or follow us on social media @RedistrictingMI on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.
Q: Who are the Commissioners?
The 13 randomly selected Commissioners are from communities across Michigan and a diverse array of backgrounds. You can view a copy of each Commissioner's "Michigan Independent Citizens Redistricting Commission Application" at RedistrictingMichigan.org, under the heading "Meet the Commissioners."
Q: What are the specific tasks and responsibilities of a commissioner? Is there any prior experience, educational background or other qualification required?
Each Commissioner is expected to work with their twelve colleagues in good faith to engage citizen input and determine state legislative (state house and senate) and U.S. congressional districts for the entire state of Michigan.
Commissioners do not need to have any prior knowledge or experience in drawing legislative districts. For more information on commissioner eligibility, you can view the application phase archived FAQ about the roles and responsibilities of commissioners, which was provided to the public during the application phase of the redistricting process.
Q: When does the Commission meet?
To view previous meetings of the Commission, please visit the "Meeting Notices and Materials" section.
Q: Who are the Commission staff?
The Commission currently employs three staff members.
Q: How can I stay updated on Commission activities?
You can stay updated on Commission activities, including notifications of upcoming meetings and events by subscribing to the email distribution list. Information on upcoming meetings and events will also be posted at RedistrictingMichigan.org and on social media @RedistrictingMI on Facebook, Instagram.and Twitter.
All Commission meeting materials, including meeting notices, minutes and agendas, are made available in the Meeting Material and Archive section of this website.
Q: Where can I watch Commission meetings?
All Commission meetings are livestreamed and available for public viewing at YouTube.com/MichSoSOffice. Links to view the livestream are also posted on Redistricting Michigan social media pages, including twitter.com/RedistrictingMI and facebook.com/RedistrictingMI.
Details on how to view or attend upcoming Commission meetings are contained within each public meeting notice document posted in the "Meeting Material and Archive" section of RedistrictingMichigan.org. Meeting notices are posted for each meeting at least 18 hours in advance of the event start time, in accordance with the Open Meetings Act. To stay updated on Commission activities and to receive meeting notices via email, please subscribe to the email distribution list..
To view replay recordings of past Commission meetings, please visit the Michigan Independent Citizens Redistricting Commission YouTube Playlist.
Q: Where can I view Commission meeting materials?
All Commission meeting materials, including meeting notices, agendas, minutes and public comment submissions, are posted for public viewing in the "Meeting Material and Archive" section of RedistrictingMichigan.org.
Q: How can I contact the Commission?
To submit public comment to the Commission, please email Redistricting@Michigan.gov.
Details on how to provide live or written public comment for a meeting are also contained within each public meeting notice document and posted in the "Meeting Material and Archive" section of RedistrictingMichigan.org at least 18 hours in advance of the meeting start time, in accordance with the Open Meetings Act. To stay updated on Commission activities and to receive meeting notices via email, please subscribe to the email distribution list.
Q: How do I know my written public comment was received by the Commission?
All written public comments submitted to the Commission are received and reviewed by Commissioners.
All written public comments are compiled into a document that is publicly posted by the meeting date in the "Meeting Material and Archive" section of RedistrictingMichigan.org. To confirm your comment is received by the Commission, you are encouraged to review the posted written public comment documents.
Q: Why is the Commission using a mapping and line drawing consultant?
As the Chair of the Commission noted in their March 11 meeting, "Because redistricting and map drawing is a complex process that requires expertise in mapping software, it is common practice - including among citizen-led redistricting commissions - that a map drawing expert be hired to aid in this process. This expert map drawing consultant will work for the Commission to perform the line drawing function at the express direction of the Commission. Michigan's Independent Citizens Redistricting Commission, in its authority, will instruct the line drawing consultant on how and where to draw the lines. The map drawing consultant will use their software to draw the maps and lines as the Commission instructs. While the line drawing consultant may draw on their redistricting expertise and experience to advise the Commission, all line drawing decisions are made by the Commission itself. Each map drawing session will also occur during open public meetings, and the Commission will solicit public input throughout the process."
Q: When will the map drawing phase of the Commission occur?
The Michigan Constitution requires that the Commission shall adopt a redistricting plan (i.e. electoral district maps) not later than November 1, 2021. The Commission's current timeline anticipates map drawing will occur during the Spring of 2021 through the Fall of 2021.
For further updates on Commission activities and to be notified of future Commission meetings and hearings, please subscribe to the email distribution list.
Q: What data will the Commission use to create the maps?
The commission will use data including the 2020 federal decennial census and citizen input to determine district lines.
Q: What criteria will the Commission use to create district maps?
The Michigan Constitution outlines the specific criteria the Commission must utilize when proposing and adopting a redistricting plan. The constitutional criteria are listed below in order of priority.
(a) Districts shall be of equal population as mandated by the United States constitution, and shall comply with the voting rights act and other federal laws.
(b) Districts shall be geographically contiguous. Island areas are considered to be contiguous by land to the county of which they are a part.
(c) Districts shall reflect the state's diverse population and communities of interest. Communities of interest may include, but shall not be limited to, populations that share cultural or historical characteristics or economic interests. Communities of interest do not include relationships with political parties, incumbents, or political candidates.
(d) Districts shall not provide a disproportionate advantage to any political party. A disproportionate advantage to a political party shall be determined using accepted measures of partisan fairness.
(e) Districts shall not favor or disfavor an incumbent elected official or a candidate.
(f) Districts shall reflect consideration of county, city, and township boundaries.
(g) Districts shall be reasonably compact.
Q: What is a community of interest?
The Michigan Constitution provides the following guidance on communities of interest:
"Communities of interest may include, but shall not be limited to, populations that share cultural or historical characteristics or economic interests. Communities of interest do not include relationships with political parties, incumbents, or political candidates."
Q: How can I provide suggestions or feedback to the Commission?
The public has the right to address the Michigan Independent Citizens Redistricting Commission and the Commission welcomes the public's comments. Written public comment may be submitted to the Commission by emailing RedistrictingMichigan.org. Live public comment may be provided during any meeting or hearing of the Commission.
Details on how to provide live or written public comment for each meeting or hearing are contained within the public meeting notice for each event. Meeting notices are posted at least 18 hours in advance of the event (in accordance with the Open Meetings Act) and are housed in the "Meeting Material and Archive" section of RedistrictingMichigan.org.
In addition to regular meetings, the Commission will host at least 15 public hearings throughout the state to solicit public input and feedback on redistricting plans. The dates, times and locations of these public hearings will be posted at RedistrictingMichigan.org as details are finalized. The Commission's meeting schedule is posted in the "Meeting Schedule" section of RedistrictingMichigan.org.
To stay updated on ways to engage with the Commission and on Commission activities, please subscribe to the email distribution list.
Q: How will the Commission inform the public about its redistricting plans?
Prior to proposing a redistricting plan, the Commission must hold at least 10 public hearings throughout the state for the purpose of informing the public about the redistricting process and for soliciting information from the public about potential plans.
Once the Commission produces proposed redistricting plans for each type of district, the plans will be made available to the public for review and feedback. Additional public hearings (at least five) must then be held by the Commission for the purpose of soliciting feedback from the public.
The dates, times and locations of statewide hearings held by the Commission will be posted at RedistrictingMichigan.org as details are finalized. To stay updated on Commission activities and to receive notifications of all meetings and hearings, please subscribe to the email distribution list.
Q: Where can I view a map of Michigan's current electoral district lines?
2011 State Reapportionment Districts may be viewed at mcgi.state.mi.us/districtlocator/
Q: How will a final plan be selected by the Commission?
Before voting to adopt a redistricting plan, the commission must publicly post each plan (i.e. electoral district map) and provide at least 45 days for public comment on the proposal.
In order to adopt a redistricting plan, the Michigan Constitution requires a majority vote of the Commission including at least two Commissioners who affiliate with each major party, and at least two Commissioners who do not affiliate with either major party.
Q: When will the Commission's redistricting plan go into effect?
Redistricting plans adopted by the current Commission will go into effect no later than December 31, 2021, and will be in effect for the 2022 primary and general elections.
Q: What was the penalty for lying on the application, especially in the eligibility or affiliation section?
Lying on the application is a criminal offense, punishable under penalty of perjury.
In addition, the applications of the 200 semi-finalists were made public in June 2020. You can read more about this and review the applications on our random selection page. The public, the press, and the Legislature all have access to read and review applications. The Constitution provides legislative leaders with the ability to review and remove up to 20 applicants from the semi-finalist pool for any reason.
Q: Why was there a notary requirement on the application?
The application must be notarized because the constitution states applicants must "attest under oath" to their qualifications and stated party affiliation [MI Constitution, Article IV, Section 6 2(A)(iii)]. The phrase "attest under oath" has long been understood and interpreted to mean that the oath must be administered by a notary (or clerk or judge).
During the application phase of this process, Secretary of State made every effort to connect citizens with notary services, including offering notary services for free in all 131 branch offices, maintaining a list of over 1500 notaries in all 83 counties willing to perform the notary service for free, and facilitating remote notary services during the Stay Home, Stay Safe executive order.
Q: How did applicants determine whether they were eligible to serve on the commission?
The Michigan Constitution provides specific requirements for who is eligible to serve on the Commission. See Michigan Constitution, Article IV, Sec. 6 (1)b-d. The Department of State provided guidance on these eligibility criteria, which can be found here. Additionally, the Department of State held a voluntary period of public comment on the eligibility criteria and initial application draft, and you can view those comments in the application archive page.
Q: What is the role of demographics in the random selection process?
The constitution outlines a specific process for the random selection of the final 13 commissioners. The Secretary of State is constitutionally required to randomly select 200 semi-finalist applicants and "use accepted statistical weighting methods to ensure that the pools, as closely as possible, mirror the geographic and demographic makeup of the state" [MI Constitution, Article IV, Section 6 (2)(d)(ii)].
Consequently, the demographic questions on the application were required fields and necessary for fulfilling the constitutional requirements of the selection process. Using statewide data from the American Community Survey of the U.S. Census Bureau, Rehmann LLC, an independent accounting firm hired by the Secretary of State performed the random, statistically-weighted selection, utilized weighing methods so that the pool of 200 semi-finalists was representative of the state. To learn more, please view our random selection frequently asked questions, view the random selection of 200 semifinalist, which was livestreamed, or read a detailed account of the random selection process.
Q: What determines "affiliation"?
The Michigan Constitution does not define the term "affiliation."
The common meaning of the word "affiliation," as defined in the Merriam-Webster dictionary, is: "the state or relation of being closely associated with a particular person, group, party, company, etc."
The application includes an optional space for applicants to provide more information in their own words about their political affiliation if they so choose. Applicants attested to their political party affiliation under oath.
Q: Was anyone disqualified because of their identity?
No. Every applicant who was eligible and submitted a complete application had the chance to be randomly selected as one of the 200 semi-finalists. The demographic weighting simply corrected for any biases in the applicant pool to ensure the randomly-selected 200 semifinalists were representative of the state.
Q: How did the Department of State work to ensure the process is truly open to Michiganders of every background?
The Department of State took several steps to ensure transparency of the applicant pool and encourage applicants from a wide range of backgrounds to apply. These steps include:
Periodically publishing data about the applicant pool on our website. This included information about the number of applicants and the demographic and geographic background of those applicants.
Providing applicants with information and resources on where and how to get their application notarized - as required by the Michigan Constitution - free of charge.
Working with partner organizations to spread the word about the opportunity to apply.
Hosting and attending community meetings, workshops, and town halls in communities across the state.
Ultimately, over 9300 Michiganders from all 83 counties and diverse backgrounds applied to be part of this historic effort. It is critical that people participate in the map drawing process after the commission is formed. This includes, for example, by, for example, attending a commission public hearing or submitting a map to the commission for consideration.
Q: How does the random selection process work? What role does the Legislature play?
The Michigan Constitution outlines a specific process for the random selection of the final 13 commissioners. The Secretary of State must randomly select commissioners from the pool of eligible applicants. This process was completed between June and August 2020. There are a three primary steps in that process.
Step 1: Following the closure of the application period, the Secretary of State's Office must randomly select 200 semifinalist applicants and provide those applications to the Michigan Legislature for review. Of the 200 randomly selected applicants, 60 people must affiliate with the Republican Party, 60 people must affiliate with the Democratic Party and 80 must not affiliate with either of those political parties. The Secretary of State's Office was required to use statistical weighting methods to ensure the pool of 200 semifinalists mirrors the geographic and demographic makeup of the state, as specified by the state constitution.
Step 2: In July 2020 the minority and majority leaders in the Michigan Senate and the Speaker of the House and minority leader in the Michigan House removed 20 applicants from the semifinalist pool, as permitted by the State constitution. You can review those strikes here.
Step 3: In August 2020, from the remaining pool received from the Legislature, the Secretary of State's Office randomly selected four people who affiliate with the Republican Party, four people who affiliate with the Democratic Party and five people who do not affiliate with either major political party to serve on commission.
Q: Is the selection process truly random?
Yes. The Secretary of State plays a purely administrative role in the random selection process. Applicants drawn in various stages of the selection process will are selected at random, and the random-ness of that selection will be verified by external, independent firms as well as public observers.
Q: What did the Department of state use to define the demographic and geographic makeup of the state for the purposes of the random selection?
We utilized data from the 2018 American Community Survey 5-Year Estimate, which is available to the general public via the American Community Survey Data Profiles online search tool. Michigan demographic information can be viewed here, and detailed tables with data for race and ethnicity, age and sex, and geographic distribution are also available.
The variables were defined as follows:
Hispanic, Latino, or Spanish origin?
Yes - 5.0%
No - 95.0%
White - 78.52%
Black or African American - 13.81%
American Indian or Alaska Native - 0.53%
Asian - 3.06%
Other - 1.23%
Two or more races - 2.85%
Males - 49.2%
Females - 50.8%
18-34 years old - 28.8%
35-54 years old - 32.4%
55+ years old - 38.8%
Southeast Michigan - 35.4% of the total state population
Eaton, Ingham, Livingston, Oakland, Macomb, Jackson, Washtenaw, Hillsdale, Lenawee, Monroe
Wayne County - 17.7% of the total state population
West Michigan - 23.8% of the total state population
Oceana, Newaygo, Mecosta, Isabella, Muskegon, Montcalm, Ottawa, Kent, Ionia, Allegan, Barry, Van Buren, Kalamazoo, Calhoun, Berrien, Cass, St. Joseph, Branch
East Central Michigan - 13.6% of the total state population
Midland, Bay, Huron, Gratiot, Saginaw, Tuscola, Sanilac, Clinton, Shiawassee, Genesee, Lapeer, St. Clair
Northern Michigan - 6.4% of the total state population
Emmet, Cheboygan, Charlevoix, Presque Isle, Antrim, Otsego, Montmorency, Alpena, Leelanau, Grand Traverse, Benzie, Kalkaska, Crawford, Oscoda, Alcona, Manistee, Wexford, Missaukee, Roscommon, Ogemaw, Iosco, Mason, Lake, Osceola, Arenac, Clare, Gladwin
Upper Peninsula - 3.1% of the total state population
Gogebic, Ontonagon, Houghton, Keweenaw, Baraga, Iron, Marquette, Dickinson, Menominee, Alger, Delta, Schoolcraft, Luce, Mackinac, Chippewa
Q: How large a deviation from the target population proportions did the State accept in the pool of 200 semi-finalists?
The Department's independent contractor, Rehmann LLC, provided the Department with a recommendation based on practical field tests of the software application and preliminary test data. Accordingly, the statistical tolerances for the random selection of 200 semifinalists were set to the following:
Sex: 5.0% tolerance
Race: 3.0% tolerance
Hispanic: 2.0% tolerance
Age: 5.0% tolerance
Region: 5.0% tolerance
Additionally, at least one applicant from each demographic and geographic sub-category (including all racial groups and all geographic regions) must be included in the group of 200 semifinalists.
You can see the final geographic and demographic makeup of the 200 semifinalists.
Q: Are the relevant selection demographics based on the total population or the voting age population (18 and over)? If the latter is used, does it consider all voting age people or only citizens?
The Michigan Constitution requires that the Secretary of State's office use "accepted statistical weighting methods to ensure that the pools, as closely as possible, mirror the geographic and demographic makeup of the state." Accordingly, the demographics for race and ethnicity, sex, and geographic area are based on the total population in Michigan. However, in order to avoid a weighting imbalance and propose nearly equal weights for eligible age categories, we did not factor people age 17 and under into the weighted categories for age.
Q: Are Hispanic, Latino, and Spanish origin responses considered a "race" variable? Are they calculated together with or separate from non-Hispanic racial categories?
On the U.S. Census and the American Community Survey, "Hispanic, Latino, or Spanish origin" is a separate question from "Race." They are separate categories and our proposed method treats them as separate variables as well. In other words, the categories for race include both Hispanic and non-Hispanic individuals. For example, a person could be both Hispanic and black, or non-Hispanic and black, and they would both be identified as "black" for the racial category. Hispanic identity is captured in a separate question, which makes it a separate variable.
Q: How did the State plan combine the requirement for the partisan breakdown on the Commission (30%/30%/40%) with the rule that the selection process should "use accepted statistical weighting methods to ensure that the pools, as closely as possible, mirror the geographic and demographic makeup of the state"?
The Michigan Constitution requires that the entire pool of 200 "semifinalists" mirror the geographic and demographic makeup of the state. There is no requirement or expectation that each of the individual partisan groups (30%/30%/40%) mirror the geographic and demographic makeup of the state individually - only that the combined pool of 200 semifinalists collectively mirror the state.
Accordingly, each demographic factor was separately weighted and considered, without any cross tabulation of political party affiliation. The formula randomly selected 60 applicants who affiliate with the Democratic Party, 60 applicants who affiliate with the Republican Party, and 80 applicants who do not affiliate with either party, until the group of 200 meets the demographic and geographic criteria to reflect the state as a whole. That group of 200 semifinalists was referred to the legislature. That will be the group of 200 semifinalists referred to the legislature.
Q: Did the State use raking to apply the demographic weights to the group of applicants prior to selecting semifinalists? If so, what is the exact function in the visual basic program?
Yes, raking was performed using basic Excel functions. "Raking" is a statistical method for weighting data, commonly used in polls or surveys (for example, see Pew Research Center's explanation). Each application received a weighting factor for each demographic variable. The formula is a simple ratio of the percentage in the population of applications to the target percentage from the U.S. Census.
For more explanation, view the archived livestream of random selection.
Q: What if the random selection fails to meet stated criteria?
In order to maintain the statistical randomness of the process, the software application operated in a fully automated manner. Once the applications were loaded and the tolerances set for mirroring "as closely as possible" the geographic and demographic makeup of the state, the computer drew a random selection of 200 applications - 60 who affiliate with the Democratic Party, 60 who affiliate with the Republican Party, and 80 who do not affiliate with either party. Once that sample was within the stated tolerances, the program output the results. In other words, in this automated process individual applicants were never discarded. Every applicant had the opportunity to be selected until all 200 met the stated criteria.
Q: Will the State disclose the software and the underlying computer code used in the random selection process so it can be reviewed and validated by outside groups?
A copy of the Visual basic for Applications code in an Excel file can be made available upon request.
Q: What is the role of the Secretary of State once the Commission is formed?
The Secretary of State is the "secretary without a vote" of the Commission. This includes keeping the public record and providing technical assistance at the direction of the Commission [MI Constitution, Article IV, Section 6 (4), (17)].
Q: Will the Secretary of State have power over map drawing?
No, the Secretary of State will merely serve as a "secretary without a vote." [MI Constitution, Article IV, Section 6 (4)]. The Commission is independent and autonomous. Only commissioners can instruct, vote on, or otherwise make any decisions about map drawing.
Q: Where can I find a list of upcoming Commission hearings and meetings?
Prior to the map drawing process, the Commission will host a series of 16 public hearings across the state to solicit input and feedback from members of the public.
For a full list of upcoming Commission events and links to RSVP for in-person attendance or sign-up for virtual attendance, please visit the Meeting and Hearings Schedule Page. For more information please view each event's meeting notice, posted at least 18 hours in advance of the meeting start time in the Meeting Notices and Materials Page.
Q: How will the Commission use public comment when drawing the maps?
The Michigan Constitution provides rank criteria the Commission must use when drawing electoral district maps. One such criteria is that "Districts shall reflect the state's diverse population and communities of interest. Communities of interest may include, but shall not be limited to, populations that share cultural or historical characteristics or economic interests. Communities of interest do not include relationships with political parties, incumbents or political candidates".
To fulfill this criteria for the drawing of Michigan's electoral district maps, the Commission will utilize several data sources, including testimony and map submissions provided by members of the public at in-person hearings and via the Commission's Public Comment Portal.
Q: Can I attend Commission hearings and meetings virtually?
Yes, each in-person hearing and meeting of the Commission has remote attendance and participation options via Zoom and by phone. For information on how to sign-up for remote participation at an upcoming Commission hearing or meeting please view each event's meeting notice, posted at least 18 hours in advance of the meeting start time in the Meeting Notices and Materials Page.
Q: What COVID safety measures are being taken at in-person hearings?
The Commission values and prioritizes the safety of members of the public. Each in-person meeting and hearing of the MICRC features socially distanced seating. Hand sanitizer is made available for public use, and microphones used for providing public comment are cleaned and sanitized in-between speakers. The Commission honors and enforces the mask policy of each hosting venue. For specific information on the mask policy at each event, please view the event's meeting notice, posted at least 18 hours in advance of the meeting start time in the Meeting Notices and Materials Page.
Each in-person hearing and meeting of the Commission also has remote attendance and participation options via Zoom and by phone. For information on how to sign-up for remote participation at an upcoming Commission hearing or meeting please view each event's meeting notice, posted at least 18 hours in advance of the meeting start time in the Meeting Notices and Materials Page.
Q: How do I sign up for live public comment?
For information on how to sign up for live public comment at an upcoming Commission hearing or meeting please view each event's meeting notice, posted at least 18 hours in advance of the meeting start time on the Meeting Notices and Materials Page. Further detail on providing public comment is provided below.
Sign-up for in-person public comment at a Commission hearing or meeting opens one hour before the event start time. To sign up for in-person public comment, please check-in with the Public Comment Sign-Up table upon arrival at the hearing or meeting venue. Speaking order is determined on a first-come first-served basis. Once signed up for in-person public comment, you will be issued a sticker with your speaking order number. This number is how you will be called upon to speak during the Commission hearing or meeting. For each Commission hearing starting at 5PM, sign-up for in-person public comment will open at 4PM and will close at 7PM.
Sign-up for remote or virtual public comment (via Zoom or phone) for Commission hearings close at 12PM the day of the hearing. Information on how to provide remote or virtual public comment during a hearing or meeting, including a link to sign up, may be found on the Meeting and Hearings Schedule Page and in each event's meeting notice, posted at least 18 hours in advance of the meeting start time on the Meeting Notices and Materials Page. Individuals who sign-up to provide remote or virtual public comment will receive an email shortly before the meeting or hearing start time containing their speaking order number and further instructions on remotely joining the event.
For a full list of upcoming Commission events, please visit the Meeting and Hearings Schedule Page. The Commission encourages all members of the public providing live public comment to also submit their comments in writing and/or create a map using the Commission's Public Comment Portal.
Q: How long do I have to speak during live public comment?
The Commission's Rules of Procedure allot 2-minutes per public comment participant, however, the Commission reserves the right to extend or shorten this speaking time allotment for public comment participants at the beginning of each public hearing or meeting. Any changes to public comment speaking times will be publicly announced at the beginning of the hearing or meeting.
Q: If I sign up to speak to the Commission at a hearing or meeting, can I change my mind?
Yes, if you sign up for live public comment but no longer wish to address the Commission, please notify a member of our staff or volunteer. If a public comment participant is not present when their number is called, they will be skipped in line, but will be provided another opportunity to give live public comment once all speakers are called upon.
Q: If I sign up to speak to the Commission at a hearing or meeting, can I leave the venue and come back when it is my turn to speak?
Yes, if you sign up for live public comment, you may leave the venue and return later (for example, if your speaking order number is very high). If a public comment participant is not present when their number is called, they will be skipped in line, but will be provided another opportunity to give live public comment once all speakers are called upon. However, due to capacity limitations at venues, the Commission cannot guarantee you re-admittance to the venue if capacity at the venue is reached.
Q: Can I give a printed map or document to the Commission when providing in-person public comment?
Yes, all documentation provided to the Commission during live public comment at a hearing or meeting will be viewed by Commissioners and also scanned and uploaded at Michigan.gov/MICRC on the Meeting Notices and Materials Page. The Commission encourages all members of the public providing live public comment to also submit their comments in writing and/or create a map using the Commission's Public Comment Portal.
Q: Can I ask the Commission questions during live public comment?
Live public comment during Commission hearings and meetings is primarily for the purposes of making statements to the Commission. To ensure a timely response to your question, the Commission recommends you email all questions to Redistricting@Michigan.gov.
Q: How can I submit written public comment or maps?
Submit written testimony, or public comment.
Create and submit electoral district maps (state house, state senate and congressional)
Share about or map a community of interest
Upload files, including PDF or shape files
Provide a link to another site, file or webpage
Comment on other submissions
Public comments submitted through the Commission's Public Comment Portal are reviewed by the Commission and are viewable by the public.
You may also provide live public comment to the Commission at an upcoming hearing or Commission meeting. For a full list of upcoming Commission events, please visit the Meeting and Hearings Schedule Page. Information on how to participate in an upcoming hearing may be found in each event's meeting notice, posted at least 18 hours in advance of the meeting start time on the Meeting Notices and Materials Page.
To learn about drawing or submitting a map of your plan or community, visit Michigan-mapping.org/#draw for brief tutorial videos.
Q: How do I draw a map using the Public Comment Portal?
The Commission's Public Comment Portal features map drawing capabilities using Districtr.org. Districtr is free, open-source software designed just for public input in the redistricting process. To learn about drawing or submitting a map of your plan or community, visit Michigan-mapping.org/#draw for brief tutorial videos.
Maps made on other software, such as Representable or Dave's Redistricting App, are welcome as well! Just use the "Other link" option in the submission form.
Q: Can I view other public comment submissions in the Public Comment Portal?
Yes, the public comment portal provides a transparent forum to submit public comments and view other submissions. A gallery of submissions is available for viewing by scrolling to the bottom of the Commission's Public Comment Portal. You can also comment on other public comment submissions using the portal.
Q: What are tags and how do I use them?
Tags are available to add to any form of submission in the Commission's Public Comment Portal (Maps, written testimony etc.). These tags create searchable categories for submissions.
For example, if you are submitting a community of interest map for the Port Huron area, you may add the "#Port Huron" tag to your submission, or any other categorization tag that best describes your community. A Commissioner or member of the public wanting to search for submissions having to do with the Port Huron area may then easily locate your map when searching for submissions containing a "#Port Huron" tag.
Tags may also be used to identify organizational or group submissions. If you are part of a group or organization submitting maps, your group may create their own unique tag to aid in identifying submissions from other members of your group (for example #Mackinaw City Hiking Club).
When typing in a tag for your submission, you may select from a list of auto-generated tags that appear below the text box, or you may create a new tag. Adding a categorization tag to your submission is entirely optional, but it is encouraged. You can also add tags to other people's submissions by opening their submission and adding a comment.
Q: What does it mean that "my public comment is a public document"?
The Michigan Constitution requires that "The commission shall receive for consideration written submission of proposed redistricting plans and any supporting materials, including underlying data, from any member of the public. These written submissions are public records".
This means that each public comment submission provided through the Commission's Public Comment Portal is posted in an open and transparent public comment forum within the portal for members of the public and the Commission to view. Disclosure of personally identifying information in the body of written testimony, including phone numbers and residential addresses, is not encouraged.
While public comment submissions are a public document, any email address provided in the "Tell Us About Yourself" section will be kept confidential to the extent authorized by law.
Q: How do I know my public comment submission has been received?
Once you submit your public comment through the Commission's Public Comment Portal, you will receive a verification email at the email address you provided when submitting your comment. Follow the prompts in the email to verify your email address. Once your email has been verified, your public comment submission may be viewed in the submission gallery on the Commission's Public Comment Portal (towards the bottom of the page). If you are having trouble locating your verification email, please check your Spam or Junk folder in your email. All public comments received are reviewed by the Commission.
If your submission to the Portal was in the form of a file upload, your comment will not appear in the submission gallery of the Commission's Public Comment Portal. All file uploads must be scanned for security prior to being posted online at Michigan.gov/MICRC.
Q: Why is my file upload not appearing in the Public Comment Portal submission gallery?
If your submission to the Portal was in the form of a file upload (such as a PDF or Shapefile), your comment will not appear in the submission gallery of the Commission's Public Comment Portal. All file uploads must be scanned for security prior to being posted online at Michigan.gov/MICRC. All public comment submissions in the Public Comment Portal, including file uploads, are reviewed by the Commission.