DETROIT (FOX 2) - For the first time in history, citizens, not lawmakers, are in charge of drawing the voting maps for the state's legislature and congressional districts.
The independent commission has spent months coming up with their proposed maps. Now - they're looking for feedback..
"No one knows the community better than you. If there is something is missing where the lies are drawn, this is the perfect opportunity to show up, speak up," said Edward Woods.
Woods, from the Michigan Independent Citizens Redistricting Commission, says there is no excuse not to. The commission will begin a series of five public hearings in five cities.
The first stop Wednesday will be at Detroit's TCF Center. You will get the chance to voice concerns for 90 seconds in person or remotely. Starting at noon - you can sign up to speak on the MICRS website or simply dial 211.
"We wanted to make sure we eliminated barriers for anyone to provide comment to the commission," said Woods. "We wanted to eliminate language as a barrier, we wanted to eliminate internet as a barrier, we have interpreters that will be made available."
It was 2018 when more than 61 percent of voters decided they wanted a say in the redistricting process.
The public will now be able to give direct feedback on several drafts of proposed district maps for the State House, State Senate and Congress.
There has already been plenty of controversy from both political parties and communities of color, worried they won't have proper representation.
"We will not make everyone happy," Woods said. "And to be honest with you, you may think I’m crazy, but it is a badge of honor that both Democrats and Republicans are upset."
To avoid racially polarized voting - the commission will follow a criteria which requires the maps to access equal population, adhere to the voting rights act, community interest and partisan fairness.
"This is some tedious work. it’s not for the faint of heart, plus it’s a new process," he added.
The commission will use feedback from the public - to draw up a final map expected to be voted on Dec. 30th.
"We will not make 100 percent of the people happy we are trying to do #showup speak up to assist a commission #drawfairmaps," Woods said.
Before tomorrow's 1 p.m. hearing - we're told a coalition of lawmakers, clergy, union members and activists plan to hold a rally at the TCF Center to continue the push for fair representation.
The five public hearings are scheduled for:
- Wednesday, Oct. 20, from 1-8:00 p.m., recess from 3:30-5:00 p.m.TCF Center, 1 Washington Blvd., Detroit 48226
- Thursday, Oct. 21, from 1—8:00 p.m., recess from 3:30-5:00 p.m.Lansing Center, 333 E. Michigan Ave., Lansing 48933
- Friday, Oct. 22, from 1-8:00 p.m., recess from 3:30-5:00 p.m.DeVos Place | Steelcase Ballroom, 303 Monroe Ave. NW, Grand Rapids 49503
- Monday, Oct. 25, from 1-8:00 p.m., recess from 3:30-5:00 p.m.Treetops Resort, 3962 Wilkinson Road, Gaylord 49735
- Tuesday, Oct. 26, from 1-8:00 p.m., recess from 3:30-5:00 p.m.Dort Financial Center, 3501 Lapeer Road, Flint 48503
For Help: Individuals can call 2-1-1 for assistance in registering to provide public comment. This service is available in over 200 languages and is ideal for individuals without internet access.