Communities of Interest: Redistricting in Michigan

Communities of Interest: Redistricting in Michigan
November 18, 2019 paperlesslion
Michigan from Orbit i2 iAdj

What are “Communities of Interest” and how will they affect Redistricting in MichiganDetroit Public TV and the U-M Ford School of Public Policy to offer live coverage TODAY of a panel discussion of the new process for drawing election maps that could change the face of politics in the state.

Click here to watch the Livestream of this crucial conversation TODAY — Monday, Nov. 18 — at 4 p.m.

Details from DPTV: 

Last November, the voters of Michigan passed Proposal 2, which amended the Michigan Constitution to place legislative and congressional redistricting in the hands of a 13-member Independent Citizens Redistricting Commission.

The amendment requires that the Commission be made up of “buckets” of four Democrat voters, four Republican voters and five 5 voters who are not affiliated with either of those parties.

Detroit Public TV and the Ford School of Public Policy at the University of Michigan will provide live coverage of a panel next Monday on a key component of that commission – “Communities of Interest” (COIs). The event is being organized by Center for Local, State, and Urban Policy (CLOSUP) at the Ford School, as part of its Policy Talks lecture series.

Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson will offer opening remarks.

The redistricting amendment requires the Commission to draw Michigan’s election district maps in a fair and transparent way using public input. Commission-drawn maps must meet strict, prioritized criteria listed in the amendment.

COIs are high on the list of priorities in drawing new districts, after equal population, compliance with the Voting Rights Act and contiguity. However, COIs are a new concept for Michigan redistricting and are defined broadly in the amendment.

A panel of experts will share how COIs factor into the redistricting process, and how citizens can be involved in helping the Commission incorporate COIs in Michigan’s next set of election district maps.


  • Connie Malloy, Chair, 2010 California Citizens Redistricting Commission
  • Chris Lamar, Legal Counsel for Redistricting with the Campaign Legal Center
  • Christopher Thomas, former Director of Elections for the State of Michigan
  • Nancy Wang, Voters Not Politicians, Executive Director, who will moderate the discussion

Among the topics they will discuss:

  • What are communities of interest (COIs)?
  • How are they defined (including examples from Michigan and other states)?
  • Where do they factor into the redistricting process?
  • Why is it important for district maps to respect community boundaries?
  • What is the actual process for drawing lines around communities?
  • What to do with overlapping communities of interest?

The panel will take place in the Annenberg Auditorium of the Ford School of Public Policy (735 S. State Street, Ann Arbor) from 4-5:20 p.m.

 More information can be found here.

This event is sponsored by the Center for Local, State, and Urban Policy (CLOSUP) and the Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy.

It is co-sponsored by Voters Not Politicians, Ginsberg Center, Domestic Policy Corps, Detroit Public Television, Program in Practical Policy Engagement (P3E).

The discussion is part of a larger CLOSUP research and service project being conducted on behalf of the Michigan Department of State to advise the Department and the Commission on best practices for the implementation of the COI criteria.