Type: Public event

"Communities of Interest" and Michigan's new approach to redistricting through an Independent Citizens Commission


Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson

Date & time

Nov 18, 2019, 4:00-5:20 pm EST


Weill Hall, Annenberg Auditorium (1120)
735 S. State Street, Ann Arbor, MI 48109

Free and open to the public. Reception to follow.

Click here for Detroit Public Television's interview with Nancy Wang, director of Voters Not Politicians for a preview of the event, and more information about Communities of Interest and Michigan's new Independent Citizen's Redistricting Commission. 


  • Jocelyn Benson, Michigan Secretary of State.
  • 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.
  • Moderator: Nancy Wang, Voters Not Politicians, Executive Director

In November, 2018, the citizens 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 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. "Communities of Interest" (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.

Panelists will discuss:

  • what are communities of interest (COIs)
  • how are they defined (some 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, and
  • what to do with overlapping communities of interest

This panel 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.

Sponsored by: Center for Local, State, and Urban Policy (CLOSUP) and Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy
Co-sponsors: Voters Not Politicians, Ginsberg Center, Domestic Policy Corps, Detroit Public Television, Program in Practical Policy Engagement (P3E)

For more information contact [email protected] or call 734-647-4091.