Department of State to mail 250,000 applications to serve on Redistricting Commission

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Two hundred and fifty thousand Michigan voters will receive applications to serve on the Independent Citizens Redistricting Commission after a random name draw held Tuesday in Lansing.

Representatives from third-party independent governmental accounting firm Rehmann LLC randomly selected names of residents to whom an ICRC application packet will be mailed prior to Jan. 1, 2020. This occurred while members of the public and the media observed.

“The random public selection made today is an important step in the constitutionally mandated process to put citizens in charge of redrawing the state’s legislative districts,” Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson said. “As the administrator of the application and selection process, I am committed to implementing the will of the voters with transparency and independence at each step, and by inviting the widespread participation of our citizens throughout the process. The random selection today is reflective of this approach and obligation to make the mandate from voters a reality.”

All Michiganders are encouraged to apply for the commission, whether or not they receive a randomly selected mailing. Last month, Secretary Benson announced that applications to serve are now available online at RedistrictingMichigan.org and began hosting application workshops across the state. Applications must be signed in the presence of a notary and returned to the Department of State by June 1, 2020.

According to the Michigan Constitution, in June of 2020 the Secretary of State must randomly select 200 semi-finalists (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). Half of these semi-finalists must be recipients of the random mailing. The entire pool of 200 semi-finalists must mirror the geographic and demographic makeup of the state of Michigan. If an applicant applies today at RedistrictingMichigan.org, and they later receive the random mailing, they will still be counted as a random mailing recipient for the purposes of the June random selection.

The constitution requires that the Secretary of State mail applications to a minimum of 10,000 randomly selected Michigan voters. Because this is the first time Michigan or any other state is implementing a citizens redistricting amendment with these requirements, the Secretary of State is randomly selecting 250,000 Michigan registered voters to receive an application to ensure that the requisite number of individuals will respond to the mailing.

District lines for political offices in Michigan, as in other states, must be redrawn every 10 years following the U.S. Census. The final 13-member citizen commission, once selected, will have exclusive authority to adopt district boundaries for the Michigan Senate, Michigan House of Representatives and U.S. Congress every 10 years and will be made up of four Democrats, four Republicans and five unaffiliated voters. The deadline for the commission to adopt a redistricting plan for Michigan’s districts is Nov. 1, 2021.

Rehmann LLC, of Troy, was selected through a standard public procurement process to perform the random selection of mailing recipients. In order to ensure a fully random drawing of names, the firm used a software called CaseWare IDEA, standard off-the-shelf software used by certified public accountants nationwide.

Under the new constitutional provision, voters assigned the Secretary of State the responsibility of administering the application and selection process of commissioners, as well as providing administrative support to the commission once formed.

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