Type: Public event

How communities can promote their interests in Michigan's redistricting: Lessons learned

Date & time

Sep 29, 2021, 7:00-8:30 pm EDT


This is a Virtual Event.

Michigan’s redistricting process is the single most important political event in the state. Its outcome will affect Michigan policy and politics for the next decade. This webinar will address the process that the Michigan Independent Citizens Redistricting Commission (MICRC) is using to draw district maps for the U.S. Congress and both houses of the Michigan Legislature.

The webinar will include an analysis of the testimony the Commission has received from citizens and Communities of Interest about their mapping preferences, a discussion of the timeline for creating final maps, and useful tips for the public and Communities of Interest as they prepare to offer comments to the Commission about the new district maps this fall. The Commission currently plans to begin the second and final round of public hearings in early October.

Sergio Martínez-Beltrán of Bridge Michigan will moderate a panel that includes Moon Duchin of Tufts University’s MGGG Redistricting Lab, who designed the Commission’s public input portal, Bob Chunn of Next Vote which helps communities draw maps, and Hayg Oshagan who directs New Michigan Media, a network of ethnic and minority media. The Executive Director of the MICRC, Sue Hammersmith, will also speak about public input and the mapping process.

This is the third webinar in a series sponsored by the Center for Local, State and Urban Policy (CLOSUP) at the University of Michigan’s Ford School of Public Policy, Voters Not Politicians (VNP), and Michigan State University’s Institute for Public Policy and Social Research (IPPSR). 

From the speakers' bios

Bob Chunn of Next Vote is President|Co-Founder of RelA2ve,  a Michigan-based technology company serving nonprofits, foundations and political organizations with technology designed to engage and activate specific audiences for public policy and voting issues.

Moon Duchin is a mathematician at Tufts University who runs the MGGG Redistricting Lab as part of the Tisch College of Civic Life.  Her research group has specialists in math, computation, law, geography, and public outreach, and they have developed the Districtr software package for drawing districts and communities of interest.  The Redistricting Lab will be working in eight states in 2021 to assist commissions, legislatures, and parallel public processes with public input collection and/or map evaluation.  Duchin's work on the geometry of redistricting has been recognized by the Guggenheim Foundation and the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study.  Recently, one area of research focus is the use of computing to enable districting that better comports with the aims of the Voting Rights Act.

Sue Hammersmith is the Executive Director for the Michigan Independent Citizens Redistricting Commission (MICRC). She facilitates and executes the work of the Commission to ensure fair and independent maps for Michigan Congressional, House, and Senate districts. Sue brings more than 30 years of executive experience in nonprofits. In addition to raising more than $55 million in her home community, Sue redesigned and facilitated Leadership Lenawee and Lenawee Youth Leadership and volunteered in leadership roles with Zonta and Rotary. She also created and facilitated several workshops to strengthen nonprofits with best practices, board development, fund development, and financial stability. Sue holds a masters in nonprofit management (MNM), as well as the Certified Fund Raising Executive (CFRE) designation. She is nationally certified as a faculty trainer for the Association of Fundraising Professionals, and as a nonprofit board consultant through BoardSource.

Sergio Martínez-Beltrán is a reporter for Bridge Michigan, where he focuses on state government and redistricting. Before moving back to Lansing, Sergio covered politics for Nashville Public Radio, where he won a regional Edward R. Murrow Award. His reporting has also appeared on NPR, the BBC, Standard-Examiner, San Antonio Express-News and GFR Media. He is a Puerto Rico native, and a graduate of Michigan State University. Sergio can be reached at [email protected].

Hayg Oshagan is a professor at Wayne State University and is the founder and Executive Director of New Michigan Media, the network of ethnic and minority media in Michigan. New Michigan Media includes the publishers of the largest African-American, Arab, Jewish, Latino and Asian newspapers in the Detroit metro area, and is also connected with 140+ minority media across Michigan. Hayg is a frequent public speaker, recognized for his work with minority media and minority communities and has received strong support for his efforts from many foundations, including the MI Nonprofit Association, the Ford Foundation, the Knight Foundation, the State of Michigan, the New Economy Initiative, the Community Foundation for Southeast MI among other. His most recent efforts included assisting the State of Michigan on the 2020 Census to reach minority communities across the state; getting information out to minority communities on Covid-19 relief, the PPP and the vaccine; working on the Detroit Charter Revision, and helping the Michigan Independent Citizens Redistricting Commission, Voters Not Politicians, and the MI Nonprofit Association with regional and statewide Redistricting efforts.


Sponsored by the Center for Local, State and Urban Policy (CLOSUP) at the University of Michigan’s Ford School of Public Policy and Voters Not Politicians (VNP), along with Michigan State University’s Institute for Public Policy and Social Research (IPPSR). 

Co-sponsored by the Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy, Bridge Michigan, League of Women Voters of Michigan, University of Michigan’s Program in Practical Policy Engagement, and Detroit Public Television. 

More information

The purpose of these webinars is to educate and engage the public in Michigan’s redistricting process.  There will be time for questions from the public after brief presentations from the panelists. Please contact [email protected] with any questions.