Michigan redistricting panel isn’t making maps public

Michigan redistricting panel isn’t making maps public

A state redistricting panel is not making maps available to the public before the commission votes.

In 2018, Michiganders voted to create the Independent Citizens Redistricting Commission charged with drawing new political maps that will be in effect until the 2030 Census.

But while the commission is well underway, their work is being kept from the public. Draft maps are not available to view in real-time, because the public cannot access maps online.

Currently, the only way for concerned citizens to view the maps is to watch hundreds of hours of meetings as they are streamed.

“Expecting interested residents to scroll through hundreds of hours of meeting livestreams to see what the current political district drafts look like is an unreasonable ask,” said Eric Ventimiglia, executive director of the group Michigan Rising Action. “[U]nless a member of the public has time to watch hours-long meetings several days a week or has access to specialized mapping software, following the commission’s mapping work in real-time has, to date, been complicated.”

Originally, maps were posted to the commission’s website but, after three meetings, they stopped sharing that information, citing time constraints. Recently, the commission promised to make maps available to the public on a third-party website, but there are currently no maps on the website.

Transparency isn’t the only problem. Michiganders voted for a non-partisan panel made up of four Republicans, four Democrats and five independents to ensure maps weren’t drawn in the interest of one political party. Yet, it has been reported that some of the independent commissioners have ties to Democrats and progressive causes.

The commission missed a key deadline Sept. 17, violating Michigan’s state constitution and leaving them open to lawsuits – including one filed preemptively. “It’s a pretty brazen disregard for the amendment, for the voters and for the people seeking to represent us at the ballot,” said Tony Daunt, executive director of FAIR Maps Michigan.

Michiganders voted for a fair and impartial process.

But what they’re getting is quite different.

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