Tools and Resources in Michigan

Event Calendar

Community Conversation in Detroit
Thursday, June 16, 2011
Christ the King Parish
20800 Grand River Ave.
Detroit, MI 48219
Click here to register


Community Conversation in Traverse City
Friday, May 21, 2011
Park Place Hotel, 300 East State St.
Traverse City, MI
1:30 p.m. to 3 p.m.

Click here to register


Community Conversation in Grand Rapids
May 19, 2011

Grand Valley State University
Loosemoore Auditorium, 401 West Fulton
Grand Rapids, MI

6 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.
This event includes a screening of the film Gerrymandering, and a discussion with the film’s director
Click here to register


Community Conversation in Lansing

May 10, 2011
Radisson Hotel, 111 North Grand Avenue
Lansing, MI
2:00 p.m. to 3:15 p.m.

Click here to register


Movie screening and discussion
Guest Speaker: Christina Kuo, Common Cause – Michigan
March 19, 2011, 2 – 5 p.m.
Multicultural Council of America
1787 W. Big Beaver Road, Troy, MI 48084
Download the flyer


Draw the Line Michigan Educational Forum
Presented by the Michigan Redistricting Coalition
Monday, March 14, 2011 (sign up by March 7 to ensure materials and lunch are available)
10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
VisTaTech Center at Schoolcraft College
18600 Haggerty Rd, Livonia, MI 48152

See the information flier


County Commission Redistricting Training
Friday, Feb 18, 2011
12:15 p.m – 1:30 p.m.
300 River Place Drive, Ste 2700
Detroit, MI 48207
Parking: Park in lot across the street

Genesee County Forum on Redistricting
Presented by the League of Women Voters  - Flint Area
Redistricting panel with Paul Rozycki, Deb Cherry, Michael Carr, Art Reyes, Prudy Adam and Inez Brown
Feb. 17, 2011, 2011 at 7 p.m. Mott Community College Tech Center Auditorium
1401 E. Court St., Flint, MI 48503


Genesee County Forum on Redistricting
Presented by the League of Women Voters  - Flint Area
Showing of “Gerrymandering”
Feb. 10, 2011, 2011 at 7 p.m. Mott Community College Tech Center Auditorium
1401 E. Court St., Flint, MI 48503

Redistricting Timeline

December 31, 2010

U.S. Census Bureau reports state population to President; Congressional seats reapportioned

February 2011

U.S. Census Bureau begins delivering local 2010 Census results to the states

March 2011

U.S. Census Bureau continues delivering local 2010 Census results to the states

April 2011

April 1 – deadline for U.S. Census Bureau to complete delivery of redistricting data to the states

November 2011

Michigan: November 1 –deadline for legislature to adopt plan

Learn About Redistricting
Get Involved!
PowerPoints, sample news release, LTTE and quick facts
Frequently Asked Questions
Favorite Links

Learn About Redistricting in Michigan

Every 10 years, Michigan and other states around the nation go about redrawing lines for congressional, legislative, county board and city council seats. That year is 2011.

The primary rule that must be followed is that districts need to be pretty close to the same size population-wise. That’s why we redistrict after each Census, to recognize people move in and out of a district.

Today, around Michigan, the districts are drawn by elected officials, who have a vested interest in the outcome that is different than the interests of voters as a whole.

Here’s how it works:

Congressional redistricting: Public Act 221 of 1999.

This state law calls for the Michigan Legislature to approve a congressional redistricting map. It calls for:

Each congressional district to have “precise mathematical equality of population in each district.”

The maps can’t violate the U.S. Voting Rights Act of 1965, which calls for minority representation. After that, they need to be contiguous, have as few county boundary breaks as possible, break as few city and township lines “as is reasonably possible,” and be compact.

State legislative redistricting is governed by Public Act 463 of 1996:

It calls for the Legislature to enact a redistricting plan for the 110 House seats and 38 Senate seats by Nov. 1. Districts should be contiguous, have a population not exceeding 105% and not less than 95% of the ideal district size for the senate or the house of representatives, preserve county, city and township lines as much as possible.

County redistricting

Public Act 261 of 1966 sets up county redistricting. It calls for there to be 5 to 35 county commission districts to be drawn by the county apportionment commission, within 60 days after the U.S. census data is available. For counties with population of under 75,000, the county boards get 30 days after the data is available to approve a reappointment plan, otherwise it goes to the reapportionment board. That board consists of the county clerk, prosecuting attorney, treasurer and the county chairs of the Republican and Democratic parties.

An easy to read overview is available here.

Continue learning:

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Get Involved!

Citizens and community organizations can influence the redistricting process, even within the status quo, to ensure better representation. The Brennan Center provides some ideas on how you can get involved:

  • Identify and map local communities. Several states explicitly require consideration of communities of interest; political pressure can effectively force other states to consider them as well. Communities of interest, however, are notoriously difficult to identify concretely. You can assist advocates, legislators, and others responsible for drawing district lines by mapping boundaries of local communities that should be kept together within a district — or if a sizable community prefers to be split in order to influence a larger number of representatives, drawing lines that show where the most appropriate splitting point is. Convene community forums and town meetings, get out the road maps, and put pen to paper to define where recognizable communities start and stop.
  • Demand and attend hearings. In several states, redistricting bodies are required to hold public hearings; in others, those in charge of redistricting may be prodded privately or publicly into allowing some forum for public input. If there are hearings, get the hearing schedule as early as possible, and mobilize community attendance: the more people who make their voices heard about the lines that would serve their needs, the more likely it is that districts eventually follow those lines. Also, it will be important to demand hearings or a public comment period not only before draft maps are produced, but afterward, to ensure that those who draw the lines hear about the impact their proposed decisions will have.
  • Present community maps to those who draw the lines. If there are public hearings, present maps of your community’s boundaries at the hearings. If not, send proposed maps to your legislators, along with petitions showing numerical support for the districts you prefer. As above, the more you can emphasize the maps that should be drawn, the more likely they are to be reflected in the final product.
  • Develop alternative maps. You may also want to step beyond maps of local communities, to redistrict the state (or city, or county) as a whole. Those who are drawing the lines have to develop multiple maps in a relatively short period of time. If you are able to give them a model, they will be able to use that model as a reference point. And in the event that the maps they draw end up in court, courts will often look to alternative maps for guidance.
  • Educate the media. Media outlets — particularly print and web media — are usually wary of self-interested government actors, and will be very interested in the redistricting process as it unfolds, and in the political impact of the final maps. Few, however, understand the redistricting process in detail. You have an opportunity to educate the media, to let them know about how the redistricting process works, and how you think it should work, to drive media coverage of the process to focus on the goals you think most important.

More ways to get involved:

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Multimedia Materials


Michigan Redistricting Collaborative PowerPoint – Michigan Redistricting Collaborative
County Reapportionment PowerPoint
Redistricting 101 PowerPoint – Brennan Center

Sample Michigan Redistricting News Article

Sample Michigan Redistricting News Article

Letters to the Editor

Five sample LTTE

Quick facts

Some quick facts about the MRC and redistricting


Redistricting-In-A-Box: 14 one-sheet info pages – Brennan Center
Introduction to Redistricting One-Sheet: one-sheet info page – Asian American Institute


ACLU: Stacking, Cracking and Packing: How politicians use “gerrymandering” to dilute minority votes
Brennan Center: Redistricting 101 Video Training
Green Film Company: Gerrymandering Documentary Clips
NAACP LDF: Redrawing the Lines: This District Represents My Community
PBS Need to Know: Drawing the lines: Parties fight for redistricting power
Wisconsin Democracy Campaign: Redistricting in Audio and Video

Social Media

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Frequently Asked Questions

Redrawing the Lines: FAQs – NAACP LDF
Redistricting Q&A – ACLU

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Favorite Links

Brookings: Toward Public Participation in Redistricting
Census Bureau: Redistricting Data, First Look at Local 2010 Census Results
Census Bureau: Interactive Map Showing Local 2010 Census Data
Census Bureau: Non-media News Releases Email List
NAACP LDF: Independent Redistricting Commissions: Reforming Redistricting Without Reversing Progress Toward Racial Equality
National Conference of State Legislatures: Redistricting
Public Mapping Project: District Builder
Public Mapping Project: News from the States

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(with thanks for this outline to the Nonprofit Voter Education Network’s Nonprofits Count website)

11 Responses

  1. Liane Giunta says:


    Just out of curiosity, Michigan is the only state that has passed districts that has not provided these new lines in shape file (mapping) or kmz format. When does the state plan on building these files and making them available to the public? Aristotle has collected every state that has established new districts except Michigan. Why is the state government stalling in providing these files?

    Thank you,

    Aristotle International

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