Justice

The difficulty with redistricting

The state's new redistricting commission is charged with weighing "communities of interest" when redrawing voting lines.

Every ten years, state redraw voting districts based on new census figures. It’s a big job that can fundamentally reshape the results of state and federal elections for the following decade. That process is getting underway right now in Michigan – with a twist.

Thanks to a ballot initiative passed in 2018, the redistricting process is out of the hands of politicians and in the hands of a board of politically and socially diverse citizens. Among their tasks is to take into account various “communities of interest” when redrawing the lines.

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That’s an important opportunity for many groups to make their voices heard – be they Arab Americans in the Detroit area or Hispanic Americans in southwest Michigan.

That Hispanic community is gearing up to make presentations to the redistricting commission, according to an article on Bridge Michigan.

“We have to protect our interests and the things that affect us, such as the education of our kids, access to health care and access to food,” said Claudia Pohlen, the communications and fundraising manager for the Hispanic Center of Western Michigan.

The redistricting commission plans to hold public hearings throughout the state beginning in mid-May. Their goal is to attempt to redraw districts in a way that doesn’t divide the various “communities of interest.”

In the past, those groups have been ignored or capitalized on by politicians seeking to preserve party power in state and federal governance. The Voters Not Politicians initiative behind the ballot proposal managed to convince a majority of voters that was fundamentally unfair.

Now they need to convince various groups throughout the state to make their voices heard and participate in the decennial process.

You can read the full story here.

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