Michigan public can partake in redrawing district boundaries starting today

Michigan's new redistricting commission is now taking public comments and will host a series of hearings across the state as it looks to redraw the state's congressional and district boundaries.

Voting advocate groups are encouraging people to participate in one of the 16 public meetings that will take place across the state as the commission embarks on the state's first phase of redistricting without the input of the legislature.

Communities of interest for the first time are going to have a voice to prevent gerrymandering and to prevent the division of neighborhoods for partisan gain, which can harm communities," Rebecca Szetela, the vice-chair of Michigan Independent Citizens Redistricting Commission told the Associated Press. 

The public can participate in person, virtually at hearings, or submit their thoughts through the mail.

Michigan approved an independent commission via ballot initiative in 2018 that was overwhelmingly approved by the public.

The panel, which has four Democrats, four Republicans, and five independents.

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The public is also invited to draw their own district maps during the public comment portion. A spokesman for the commission said the goal is to get 10,000 comments submitted.

The commission's first meeting is today at 6 p.m. in Jackson. Meetings in Metro Detroit include Dearborn on June 3, Novi on June 8, Pontiac on June 10, Detroit on June 15 and 17, and Warren on June 24.

Learn more about the commission here

The Associated Press contributed to this report.