Redistricting panel to ask state Supreme Court for deadline extension

By Allison Donahue, Michigan Advance

After a delay in Census data threw off the timeline for the Michigan Independent Citizens Redistricting Commission (ICRC) to draw its maps, the group unanimously voted Friday to try to get a deadline extension from the Michigan Supreme Court. 

In 2018, voters approved a constitutional amendment establishing the ICRC, a panel of 13 Michigan residents — four Democrats, four Republicans and five independents — in charge of drawing the state’s new U.S. House and state House and Senate district lines for the 2022 elections. 

The amendment includes a deadline of Nov. 1 to have its plans for the new maps finalized and by Sept. 17, or 45 days before the maps are finalized, for a public comment period. 

But the U.S. Census Bureau announced last month that the data from the 2020 Census, which the ICRC is dependent on, won’t be available until Sept. 30 — eight months later than expected. The bureau said the delay is due to “COVID-19-related shifts in data collection and in the data processing schedule.” There also have been widespread concerns about shifting timetables and policies from the former Trump administration impacting the quality of data.

ICRC spokesperson Edward Woods did not respond to a request to comment regarding potential new deadlines the commission is considering for the extension. 

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