Redistricting commission to launch first of 16 public hearings Tuesday in Jackson

Beth LeBlanc
The Detroit News
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Michigan's redistricting commission will launch the first of 16 public meetings Tuesday to hear from residents about the factors they hope are considered as voting districts are redrawn. 

The public listening sessions begin at 6 p.m. Tuesday in Jackson and will end in Grand Rapids July 1. People can attend in person, as space and social distancing allow, or online via Zoom. 

The Michigan Independent Citizens Redistricting Commission is set to start Tuesday a series of 16 public hearings. The session in Jackson can be attended in person or by Zoom.

The 13-member Independent Citizens Redistricting Commission is tasked with redrawing Michigan's voting districts for Congress, the state House and state Senate ahead of the 2022 elections. 

During the twice weekly public hearings across the state, commissioners hope to hear from residents about how the districts should be drawn to respect a community's interests, history, culture and economy. 

The group has a goal of collecting 10,000 discreet public comments submitted at the meetings and through a portal on the commission's website, said Edward Woods III, a commission spokesman.

"We want to hear from you," Woods said in a press event Monday. "We want to increase awareness. We want to increase our engagement with you.”

Suann Hammersmith, executive director for the Michigan Independent Citizens Redistricting Commission, said the hearings are intended as listening sessions only. After the hearings have concluded, the commission will weigh input with new Census Bureau data to draw districts around areas of equal population, contiguous geography and communities of interest, among other factors. 

"The purpose of the public hearings is to listen," Hammersmith said. "The commission cannot draw a single line until at least 10 public hearings have taken place.”

People can learn more about the public hearings or submit public comment at General questions about the redistricting process also can be addressed at (833) YOU-DRAW.

The public hearing schedules include the following 6 p.m. meetings:

May 11: American 1 Event Center. 128 W. Ganson St., Jackson

May 13: Wings Event Center, 3600 Vanrick Dr., Kalamazoo

May 18: The Northern Center at Northern Michigan University, 1401 Presque Isle Ave, Marquette

May 20: Treetop Resorts, 3962 Wilkinson Rd., Gaylord

May 25: Great Hall Banquet & Convention Center, 5121 Bay City Rd., Midland

May 27: Lansing Center, 333 E. Michigan Ave., Lansing

June 1: Dort Financial Center, 3501 Lapeer Rd., Flint

June 3: Ford Community and Performing Arts Center, 15801 Michigan Ave., Dearborn

June 8: Suburban Collection Showplace, 46100 Grand River Ave., Novi

June 10: Centerpoint Marriott, 3555 Centerpoint Pkwy, Pontiac

June 15: The Village Dome at Fellowship Chapel, 7707 W. Outer Dr., Detroit

June 17: TCF Center, 1 Washington Blvd, Detroit

June 22: Blue Water Convention Center, 800 Harker St., Port Huron

June 24: MRCC Banquet Center, 23401 Mound Rd, Warren

June 29: VanDyke Mortgage Convention Center, 939 Third Street, Muskegon

July 1: DeVos Place, 303 Monroe Ave NW, Grand Rapids

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