‘Voters not legislators’

By David Fleet
The new lines have been drawn.
For now.
On Dec. 28, a 13 person Michigan Independent Citizens Redistricting Commission, comprised of four Democrats, four Republicans and five independent affiliation completed months of mapping out political lines, seeking input statewide after enduring criticism for their interpretations of state and federal requirements, as well as a myriad of court orders regarding public information.
While challenges to the commission’s new lines are ongoing, locally the impact of the redistricting will have some changes to representation in both Lansing and Washington D.C.
In 2018, Michigan voters passed Proposal 2, a ballot initiative for “voters and not legislators,” to take responsibility for nonpartisan redistricting and created the Michigan Independent Citizens Redistricting Commission, the MICRC.
The Voters Not Politicians proposal passed with about 61 percent of voters in favor and 39 percent opposed.
The aim of the new system is intended to end political gerrymandering, an old tradition in Michigan by which both Republicans and Democrats would redraw political lines to benefit politicians running or help out their party as a whole.

Rebecca Szetela, chair of MICRC said the Michigan Constitution establishes prioritized criteria for use when drawing voting districts. First, the Constitution requires that districts have equal populations and comply with the Voting Rights Act and other Federal laws. Secondly, districts must be geographically contiguous and reflect the state’s diverse population and communities of interest.
Edward Woods, MICRA communications and outreach director said the response from the state was strong.
“In 2018 voters in Michigan said 61 percent said they want voters, citizens, Michigan residents to draw the maps not politicians so they could have fair maps and prevent gerrymandering,” said Woods. “We’ve had more than 25,000 comments from across the State of Michigan to assure their voice was heard by showing up and speaking up.”
Under the State Senate redistricting for Atlas, Brandon and Groveland townships along with Goodrich and Ortonville the current District 14 held by Sen. Ruth Johnson (R) will now be District 24. Johnson was elected to the senate in 2018 and would be on the August 2022 primary.
In the Michigan State House, the current 51st District held by Rep. Mike Mueller (R) representing Atlas, Groveland townships along with the Village of Goodrich will be District 68. In Brandon Township and the Village of Ortonville the current District 46 representative John Reilly (R) will now be District 66. Both representatives will term out this year.
All U.S. House districts, including the new 7th, 8th and 9th Congressional Districts are holding elections in 2022. The general election is set for Nov. 8, 2022. The primary is scheduled for Aug. 2, 2022. The filing deadline is April 19.
The new Congressional District 8 will include the Village of Goodrich and Atlas Township, while Brandon and Groveland townships along with the Village of Ortonville will be in the new District 9 with Rep. Andy Levin (D).
The old 8th Congressional District, is a seat currently held by Rep. Elissa Slotkin (D) and included about 750,000 residents in Ingham, Livingston and North Oakland counties. Slotkin, who will now be in the 7th Congressional District, is a Holly resident was first elected in 2018 to Congress, although losing in Oakland County and all but one precinct in Brandon Township. She was reelected in 2020.
Go to www.michigan.gov/micrc final maps to determine voting districts.
The map was one of three collaborative maps brought to the final round of voting and was subject to a 45-day public comment period prior to the vote.

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