Amid a coup attempt in the nation’s Capitol, the country is trying to process what changes are in store for our democratic system in the coming years. One such political change coming to Michigan is giving some hope for a more representative future: The state’s newly-formed independent redistricting commission will soon re-draw our legislative and Congressional lines, and it will do it in a way that takes politicians mostly out of the equation.
Before this year, those lines were drawn by the state Legislature through a process that has allowed Republicans in Michigan to gerrymander legislative and congressional districts to their advantage. The hope with the new redistricting commission is that those districts will more accurately reflect voter preferences across our state. But there are major challenges ahead, including making sure that the maps are drawn using accurate data from the new U.S. Census, which has been shrouded in controversy like everything else involving the Trump administration.
Listen: Michigan SOS Jocelyn Benson On Hopes For New Redistricting Commission
Jocelyn Benson is Michigan’s Secretary of State. “The districts will be in place at the end of this year and they’ll be used to draw districts in the state House, (state) Senate, and Congressional seats for the 2022 elections,” says Benson.
On the topic of the members of the new commission, Benson says the group is “truly dedicated to the principles of this commission.” When it comes to using the newest census data to help inform some of the decisions made by the commission, obviously the pandemic has made things difficult. ”My hope is that as we move forward in the next month we’ll see some changes to achieve those goals and ensure that we get that data and ensure it’s accurate,” says Benson.