One by one, people approached the stage in Auditorium Plachta. Some with speeches they prepared for days, others spoke with emotion ranging from celebration to frustration.
All came for the same purpose, to participate in the future of electoral politics in Michigan.
The Michigan Independent Citizens Redistricting Commission (MICRC) met on September 23 at Warriner Hall to discuss the status of the current redistricting process with the region.
The MICRC’s mission is to redraw the legislative and legislative boundaries of states after the adoption of “Proposition 2” in the 2018 ballot. The commission allows the public to be directly involved in the process – removing the responsibility for the partisan state legislature. The 13 commissioners are responsible for drawing political lines for 13 US House districts, 38 State Senate districts, and 110 State House districts.
The commission’s stop at CMU is part of an ongoing tour, exclusive to the university, to attract a larger audience and divergent opinions on its proposed maps.
Commissioner Anthony Eid said the college tour helps put more emphasis on the opinions of younger people.
âWhat we need is more feedback from college students,â said Eid â(CMU students) can build a community of interest if enough people let us know about the issues you’re having in. as a student. ”
However, Eid said, even with this tour, student participation is lower than he would like to see. Many of those who offered public comment were from Midland County. In the most recent map proposals, the town of Midland would be in one district, but most of the surrounding county would be in another. This was accompanied by great concern on the part of residents who expressed their frustrations to the commissioners.
Eid also stressed the importance of diversity in this issue and that these visits give the commission a chance to hear from many diverse groups. The committee made these efforts to ensure that the voices of minorities were not eventually overlooked.
Kate Ellison, student and constituency scholar for the Campus Vote Project spoke on his experience following the public comment section. Ellison said she hoped the group had listened to her suggestions and hopefully used her insight to make future decisions.
Ellison said these events are paramount because many people on campus are unaware of the processes involved in voting and redistribution.
âThe more young people (voting) the better,â Ellison said.
Senior Macomb and Events Coordinator Madeline Thomas said it was important to have these types of events on campus so students could see how to actively participate in democracy.
âWe took out the politicians and gave it to our people,â Thomas said. “It really shows the kind of tools we have in our democracy that we can use.”
All meetings are open to the public with online and in-person options. Meetings are streamed and posted on the MICRC Youtube channel.