redistricting | Michigan Radio


Anthony Johansen

Brood X -- the celebrity cicadas emerging after 17 years of solitude in parts of the United States -- has been frolicking in abundance north of Ann Arbor. The excitement around the bug boom has led to all kinds of selfies, works of art, conversations… and food.

So what’s the best way to cook up a cicada? Pickled? Sauteed? Deep fried? Ypsilanti resident Anthony Johansen hosted a cicada cookout this past weekend, and told Stateside his tips for making these creepy bugs a little more palatable.

A wide angle shot of the Capitol Building in Lansing
Lester Graham / Michigan Radio

The overarching sentiment from the public comment period was the same – don’t divide my community into more than one political district.

70 residents attended Michigan Citizen Redistricting Committee's (MICRC) first public hearing Tuesday night in Jackson in-person to deliver public comment. Michael Smith repeated a sentiment that was shared often: boundaries between new political districts shouldn’t cut through existing school districts.

people in voting booths
Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Michigan residents have a first-ever opportunity to be directly involved with the re-drawing of political district lines tonight when the Michigan Independent Citizens Redistricting Commission (MICRC) hosts its first of 16 public hearings on the redistricting process.

The hearing from 6-9 p.m. Tuesday at One American Event Center in Jackson will also be livestreamed. Any Michigander can RSVP to attend the in person or online, and submit public comments virtually, here.

The U.S. Capitol
user kulshrax / creative commons

The final numbers are still on their way, but initial data from the U.S. Census Bureau offers a glimpse at population trends across the country. In Michigan, the state’s population has grown at a slower rate than that of states in other parts of the country. And that means the state is set to lose a seat in the U.S. House of Representatives.

Michigan seeks to delay redistricting by nearly 3 months

Apr 21, 2021

Michigan’s top election official and its redistricting panel asked the state Supreme Court on Wednesday for more time to adopt new congressional and legislative maps, pointing to delayed census data.

The lawsuit, which was expected, seeks a Jan. 25 deadline — nearly three months later than the Nov. 1 date set in the state constitution. Due to setbacks from the pandemic, the U.S. Census Bureau is not expected to release redistricting data until mid- to late August and it might not be available in an easy-to-use format until Sept. 30.

congressional map of Michigan
Wikimedia Commons/Public Domain / Wikimedia Commons

Michigan’s new Independent Citizens Redistricting Commission, which was approved by voters in 2018, is continuing its work of drawing new congressional and legislative districts for the state. In recent weeks, the commission has encountered some challenges related to timing and funding, especially as 2020 Census data needed for the process won’t be available until July. As the group continues meeting virtually — which members of the public are encouraged to get involved in — Stateside took a look at the history of the representation Michigan has now, and why there’s been a movement to change the state’s legislative map.

Hand holding rainbow LGBTQ flag
Stavrialena Gontzou /

Today on Stateside, a major Michigan-based adoption agency is opening up adoption to LGBTQ parents. We spoke with Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel, who has spent years fighting for LGBTQ families. Plus, a conversation with artist Elizabeth Youngblood about how learning to weave inspired the delicate lines of her sculptures and drawings. 

congressional map of Michigan
Wikimedia Commons/Public Domain / Wikimedia Commons

In 2018, Michigan voters passed the Independent Redistricting Commission Initiative (Proposal 2). In doing so, they commenced a process in which everyday citizens — rather than people who hold political office — draw the state’s new legislative districts, which are based on data from the 2020 Census. Now that the Census has finished gathering data from the public, who exactly is doing the work of redefining Michigan’s congressional boundaries? That would be a group of 13 randomly selected Michiganders who make up the state’s Independent Citizens Redistricting Commission. And maybe you, too.

Lady Ace Boogie

Today on Stateside, Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson discusses the state's preparedness for a deluge of absentee ballots ahead of the November election, and how the new redistricting commission is shaping up. And a Michigan MC hangs up the mic to spend time on herself and her family.

Livestream screenshot from selection process / MI SOS

The thirteen members of Michigan's new redistricting commission were randomly selected Monday, with the process livestreamed so all residents could watch.  

Voters approved the commission in 2018 to shift redistricting authority from politicians to citizens.

wood gavel in front of book
sergign / Adobe Stock

A federal judge has dismissed a legal challenge to Michigan’s voter-approved commission to draw new district lines for legislative and congressional seats.

Elizabeth Battiste is with the Voters Not Politicians campaign. She says lawsuits to block the commission have failed at every level so far. And that means recruiting people to sit on the commission will continue.

people in voting booths
Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

The Michigan Department of State announced on Tuesday that it has processed the first 1,000 successfully completed and notarized applications for the new 13-member Independent Citizens Redistricting Commission. 

According to Jake Rollow, the department's Director of Communications, these applications were submitted between October 24 and November 30, 2019.

Registered voters have until June 1, 2020 to submit applications.

people in voting booths
Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

250,000 randomly selected Michigan voters will be getting an application in the mail in the next few days.  They're being invited to apply to serve on the state's citizen redistricting commission.  

Voters approved the anti-gerrymandering Proposal 2 in 2018. This changes who redraws district boundaries for the state legislature and Congress every ten years based on the U.S. Census. 

A map of Michigan's Congressional districts.
Wikimedia Commons

Today on Stateside, a federal judge delivered a setback to Michigan Republicans suing to stop the state from moving forward on a voter-approved redistricting commission. Plus, why the old political belief that urban voters swing Democratic and the suburbs vote Republican is changing.

Invitations will soon be in the mail asking voters to apply to be part of Michigan’s new redistricting commission.

The Michigan Secretary of State has been handed a list of 250,000 randomly selected voters. They will be asked to apply for a position on the commission. The commission will be in charge of drawing political district lines.

People can also apply to serve whether or not they receive a letter.

People can now apply to be on the state's new 13-member Independent Citizens Redistricting Commission.

Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson announced the launch of the online application process Thursday.

US Supreme court building with flag in front
Bill Chizek / Adobe Stock

The U.S. Supreme Court says the Michigan Legislature does not have to immediately draw new congressional and legislative district lines. That decision was expected after the Supreme Court rejected efforts in other states to redraw boundaries.

$100 bills
Tomasz Zajda / Adobe Stock

Governor Gretchen Whitmer has been presented a budget by the state Legislature, but one area where Whitmer might have an issue with the budget is the state’s new redistricting commission.

Last November, Michigan’s voters approved a ballot initiative to create an independent redistricting commission. That commission costs money, for example to pay the salaries of the board members.

Bill Lovis stands to left of Inca mummy
Michigan State University

Today on Stateside, we hear about a lawsuit, filed by the Michigan Republican Party, that aims to block an independent commission from redrawing legislative maps. Plus, we talk about the tough ethical choices people face when trying to do something about climate change.

straight-party voting
Lars Plougmann

Republicans in Michigan filed another lawsuit to stop the redistricting commission. The Michigan Republican Party says the state’s new redistricting commission is unconstitutional.

A detail Michigan congressional district maps drawn in 2011.
Michigan Department of Technology, Management, and Budget

Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel and Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson are asking a federal judge to toss a challenge to the state’s new redistricting law.

They say restrictions on who can serve on the new redistricting commission are legal.

Flickr user Joe Gratz / HTTP://J.MP/1SPGCL0

The group Voters Not Politicians has filed a motion to intervene in a lawsuit filed last month by state Republicans.

The lawsuit seeks to shut down Michigan's new redistricting commission. The suit says the rules outlining who can serve on the commission are unconstitutional.

a map of Michigan's 13th Congressional district
Federal Election Commission

Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson says she’s looking to the Legislature to provide enough money to ensure the new state redistricting commission can do its job.

The amendment approved by voters last November provides some money, but Benson says she wants money to recruit commission members from all walks of life.

People holding signs advocating for the Voters Not Politicians ballot initiative that was passed last November.
Photo courtesy of Voters Not Politicians

In 2018, Michiganders voted to pass Proposal 2, a redistricting amendment that would create an independent commission to draw legislative and congressional district maps. Voters Not Politicians, the nonprofit organization that collected signatures to get the amendment on the ballot, is now taking steps to form that commission.

Prior to Prop 2, whichever party was in control in Lansing was responsible for drawing district maps.

congressional map of Michigan
Wikimedia Commons/Public Domain / Wikimedia Commons

Some wild stuff is about to go down in Michigan politics, and it all has to do with maps.

Normally, the maps that mark political districts get redrawn every 10 years.

But now there’s a good chance in Michigan the maps will get redrawn twice just in the next two years.

congressional districts map of Southeast Michigan
Michigan House of Representatives

Michigan’s top elections official says the Legislature should act quickly to draw new maps for legislative and congressional districts.

A federal court struck down Michigan’s district maps as too partisan. The court ruled Michigan’s lines provide an illegal advantage to Republicans in many districts. Republican leaders in the Legislature say they will appeal the ruling.

congressional districts map of Southeast Michigan
Michigan House of Representatives

Was the last re-drawing of Michigan’s political district maps so biased in Republicans’ favor, they were illegal?

Morgan McCaul
Emma Winowiecki / Michigan Radio

Today on Stateside, General Motors is set to keep receiving tax breaks from the state of Michigan until 2029. That's in spite of the company's recent decision to cut thousands of jobs and shut down production at two plants in the state. Plus, a co-author of this year's National Climate Assessment shares how climate change is projected to impact Michigan and the Midwest in coming decades. 

People holding signs advocating for the Voters Not Politicians ballot initiative that was passed last November.
Photo courtesy of Voters Not Politicians

A group promoting a ballot initiative to redraw Michigan's voting districts got an unexpected boost with a $250,000 contribute from a national group. The funds came from the National Redistricting Action Fund, an affiliate of the National Democratic Redistricting Committee, which is headed by former U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder. 

Michigan Truth Squad: A video attacks Michigan redistricting proposal

Sep 6, 2018

The Michigan Freedom Fund, a conservative advocacy organization, promotes an online video, paid for by recently-formed committee Protect My Vote, that asks voters to reject the Voters Not Politicians ballot initiative that would make a citizens’ commission responsible for redrawing district lines, instead of the legislature.