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Census data delay could affect redistricting in Michigan

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The U.S. Census Bureau announced last week that crucial data needed to redraw legislative district maps likely won’t be available until late September. That will put Michigan’s new Independent Citizen's Redistricting Commission on a tight timeline. Community organizations are preparing for another crucial step in the process.

When Michigan’s brand-new citizen’s redistricting commission draws new legislative maps this year, they’ll have to take communities of interest into consideration.

Mariana Martinez, from the Michigan Nonprofit Association, says that’s why a group of 20 nonprofits has teamed up to reach out to communities in Detroit, Flint, and Grand Rapids regardless of the delay.

“Community outreach—that can happen. We don’t have to wait for the census data. That is certainly the basis of the information but for the purposes of including our communities—that needs to happen now.”

Identifying communities of interest, is a way of ensuring groups aren’t split up over multiple districts. This is the first-time politicians in the state legislature won’t draw the maps behind closed doors.