Michigan redistricting commissioner resigns; new choice looms

Beth LeBlanc
The Detroit News

Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson will hold a random drawing Wednesday to replace an independent commission member who resigned less than a week after taking the oath of office. 

James "Ed" Decker, one of five members who considered themselves unaffiliated, submitted a letter of resignation to the state over the weekend "due to changes in personal circumstances." Decker said he believed he could not give the attention needed for the commission.

The 13 commission members, who had been narrowed down from a group of 9,300 applicants, were sworn in last week. They were drawn from a field of 180 semifinalists after legislative leaders eliminated 20 semifinalists as allowed by law. 

Stephen Blann of the firm Rehmann helps Michigan randomly select 13 individuals to serve on the state's new redistricting commission to draw political lines after the 2020 census on Monday, Aug. 17, 2020.

The commissioners will redraw Michigan's U.S. House, state Senate and state House boundaries ahead of the 2022 election after voters in 2018 approved a constitutional amendment that shifted redistricting duties from the party in power to an independent commission. 

"The Constitution anticipated and provided for replacement scenarios for commissioners, including through resignation, and outlined the process of replacing them," Benson's office said in a Tuesday statement. 

An independent accounting firm, Rehmann LLC, will draw another name from the remaining 167 semifinalists.