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State's new Redistricting Commission anticipates delay in receiving Census data

congressional map of Michigan
Wikimedia Commons/Public Domain
Wikimedia Commons

Last week, the U.S. Census Bureau announced states wouldn’t receive the data they need to draw new legislative maps until the end of September.

That could create problems for Michigan’s new Independent Citizen’s Redistricting Commission.

In a press conference Tuesday, Executive Director Sue Hammersmith said the commission hasn’t had a chance to talk about the delay yet but a plan should come together in the next few weeks.“And we’ll do our best to keep you informed as we figure out how to deal with delay.”

States like California and New Jersey have extended the deadlines for when new maps need to be submitted by. The Michigan state constitution requires new maps to be submitted by November 1 of this year.

When the redistricting commission draws new legislative maps, they’ll have to take communities of interest into consideration.

Mariana Martinez, from the Michigan Nonprofit Association, says that’s why a group of 20 nonprofits has teamed up to reach out to communities in Detroit, Flint, and Grand Rapids regardless of the delay.

“Community outreach—that can happen. We don’t have to wait for the census data. That is certainly the basis of the information but for the purposes of including our communities—that needs to happen now.”

Identifying communities of interest, is a way of ensuring groups aren’t split up over multiple districts.

The commission will have a virtual public meeting February 18 at 9 a.m.

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Abigail Censky is the Politics & Government reporter at WKAR. She started in December 2018.
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