Organizations react to redistricting committee’s closed door meeting


FILE – This April 5, 2020, photo shows an envelope containing a 2020 census letter mailed to a U.S. resident in Detroit. A group of Harvard researchers are coming out against the U.S. Census Bureau’s use of a controversial privacy method on the numbers used for redrawing congressional and legislative districts, saying it doesn’t produce data that are good enough for redistricting. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya, File)

LANSING, Mich. (WLNS) — Following a day of a death threat and delayed meetings multiple organizations have a lot to say about the Michigan Independent Citizens Redistricting Commission’s decision to hold a closed floor meeting.

Earlier in the day, the commission had to put their meeting on hold after they received a death threat via email.

Edward Woods III, a spokesperson for the commission, confirmed to 6 News that the meeting was stopped at 1:06 p.m. when they got the threat.

The Communications Director of the Michigan Republican Party released the following statement after the redistricting commission today held a closed session.

“Michiganders were sold on a commission that would be transparent and accountable in the creation of fair state and federal districts under the constitution,” said Gustavo Portela, MIGOP Communications Director. “Today, after repeated violations of the Michigan constitution, the redistricting commission entered a new low in holding a closed-door discussion about the applicability of the Voting Rights Act. It’s another gut punch for Michigan voters who were lied to about how this commission would conduct its business and create fair maps for which Michiganders could choose their representation in Lansing and in Washington D.C.”

Michigan Democratic Party Chair Lavora Barnes issued the following statement: 

“Last week, hundreds of people stood up in Detroit during the MICRC’s first public hearing demanding changes to the maps to ensure fair representation for Black and Brown voters. We have yet to hear the Commission’s debrief on the public hearings. Instead of having an open and transparent discussion, the Commission retreated behind closed doors to discuss VRA. This process cannot move forward until the Commission addresses what they’ve heard from the public, what was discussed in closed session, and how they plan to fix the maps accordingly.”

Nancy Wang, executive director of Voters Not Politicians said of yesterday’s MICRC meeting:

“Threats of violence against our public servants are outrageous and undermine democracy. Voters Not Politicians condemns Wednesday’s threat against the Michigan Independent Citizens Redistricting Commission, and calls for a complete investigation to find whoever was responsible.

On the MICRC’s decision to hold a closed session today, the amendment provides, “The commission shall conduct all of its business at open meetings.” The intent was to bring redistricting out into the open through a fair, impartial, and transparent process. Redistricting business includes deliberating issues arising under the Voting Rights Act. We hope the MICRC will provide additional information explaining its decision to hold a closed session today.”

The MICRC held a press conference regarding the closed session at 6:30 p.m. on Oct. 27.

The commission has yet to release a statement to the public about their decision to hold a closed meeting.

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