Secretary of State
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. There are a three primary steps in that process.
Step 1: Following the closure of the application period on June 1, 2020, the Secretary of State’s Office must randomly select 200 semifinalist applicants whose applications will be sent to the Michigan Legislature for review. Of the 200 randomly selected applicants, 60 people must self-identify as affiliating with the Republican Party, 60 people must self-identify as affiliating with the Democratic Party and 80 must self-identify as unaffiliated with either of those political parties. The Secretary of State’s Office must also 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 will have the opportunity to remove up to 20 applicants from the semifinalist pool for any reason. Legislative leaders must return names to the Secretary of State no later than August 1, 2020.
Step 3: In August 2020, from the remaining pool received from the Legislature, the Secretary of State’s Office must randomly select four people who self-identify as affiliating with the Republican Party, four people who self-identify as affiliating with the Democratic Party and five people who self-identify as unaffiliated with either of those political parties to serve on commission. This random selection must be performed no later than September 1, 2020.
Q: Is the selection process truly random?
Yes. The Secretary of State plays a purely ministerial role in the random selection process. Applicants drawn in various stages of the selection process will be 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: