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Candidates Wait on Redistricting Commission as Election Nears

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The redistricting process continues as the Michigan Independent Citizens Redistricting Commission redraws Michigan’s political future.

Due to COVID’s impact on the census and a delay in the data release, the process is dragging past its deadline. Those looking to run for seats in 2022 are stuck waiting to see exactly what they are running for.

“I know my district is going to look completely different and I look forward to developing relationships in new counties,” said Rep. Ken Borton or Gaylord.

Claims of unfair, partisan gerrymandering lead to the creation of the commission. A task usually done by lawmakers is being done by randomly chosen Michiganders.

“There are definitely going to be some changes, given the circumstances that the people voted for this process,” said Speaker of the House Jason Wentworth.

Most of the gerrymandering issues were seen within the district lines in Southeast Michigan but that doesn’t mean Northern Michigan will stay the same. Early rough drafts show drastic changes to congressional districts and even a move that would break the Grand Traverse area into three separate House districts. Lawmakers are keeping a close eye on the progress.

“I was encouraged, by what I saw, that at least it looked like they were doing it fairly,” said Rep. John Damoose of Harbor Springs, “I don’t know if there’s a problem but right now I don’t worry about it.”

It’s no longer in their hands.

“I’m not spending a lot of time worry about it,” said Damoose, “Simply because there’s nothing I can do about it.”

This is all significant because these Reps are running for these seats in 14 months. Right now not knowing yet who their constituents are or if they even live in their own district still.

“By this time, when I was running originally, I was already a year and a half into it,” said Borton.

The Michigan State Supreme Court has denied extensions to the commission’s deadline but it’s not speeding up the process. The hope now is to have them done by the end of the year.

“We’re seeing it right now, when you get random people in the room and draw lines for districts that they hadn’t paid attention to prior, it’s a difficult task for these guys,” said Wentworth, “They are doing the best with what they have.”