Wanted: Commissioners to Re-Draw Legislative Boundaries
On Tuesday, the State of Michigan held a drawing to of Michigan residents who might get the chance to redraw legislative districts. The state is about to mail out the quarter-of-a-million applications. The drawing, held by a third party firm with members of the public and the media watching, is the first step in implementing a complicated new law that voters approved last November.
Eventually, a 13-member commission will be chosen to do the work, by November 1st, 2021.
If you don't get one of the random applications, you can still get an application form online at RedistrictingMichigan.org. Applications must be signed in the presence of a notary and returned to the Department of State by June 1, 2020.
Next June, Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson's office will randomly select 200 semi-finalists, 60 democrats, 60 republicans and 80 who don't claim to be affiliated with either party. Half of the 200 have to come from the random applications, which will be mailed between now and the end of 2019.
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.
What's the gig pay?
According to the Constitution, the commissioners will receive compensation equal to 25% of the Governor’s salary, which amounts to approximately $40,000.
How much time are we talking about?
The Commission will convene in the fall of 2020 and will be required to enact district maps no later than November 1, 2021. Commissioners will set meeting dates and other commitments within those parameters upon its convening.
We estimate, based on the experiences of the citizens who sat on California’s citizen redistricting commission in 2011, that the work hours will be variable depending on the week. Some weeks the time commitment may be limited to a handful of hours, while others may be much more intensive. The work will be varied throughout the year to include meetings, at least 15 constitutionally-required forums and town halls, and other discussions as the commission deems necessary to fulfil its service to the state.
Will they pay mileage?
This will be determined by the commission itself. Michigan’s constitution does not specifically address travel reimbursement, but the commission does have the authority to choose to reimburse commissioners’ travel and other related expenses as part of the expenses of the duties of Commissioner.
The State has a Q&A section that attempts to untangle the new law.