My name is Beth Little. I was referred to your organization by Robert Brown, who hosts the Flint Water Crisis Communications call weekly.
I’m a volunteer with Voters Not Politicians and the League of Women Voters of the Flint Area working to identify under-represented communities and help them participate in the redistricting process that is taking place now. The Michigan Independent Citizens Redistricting Commission has scheduled a Public Hearing for June 3, 2021 in Flint to take testimony from Genesee County voters, this will be the best opportunity for Flint voters to tell the commission how their voting districts should be drawn.
One criterion that the Commission must consider is Communities of Interest or COI. Communities can be based on economic, cultural, historical and other values or interests, but they cannot be based on party affiliation or race. A COI must have a geographical boundary; thus, a map of the community must be drawn, either in a mapping tool or on paper. Finally, that description of the community along with the map must be submitted to the Commission.
VNP has created a resource webpage: https://votersnotpoliticians.com/coi/, with tools to help COI with that process., and will host a virtual town hall on the process on April 7 at 7pm. I’ll forward the link to your group when it becomes available. The League of Women Voters will hold a virtual town hall later in April on how to give testimony to the Commission.
This URL is for a February Webinar created in partnership by UofM Ford School and VPN. It gives more background of what COI is and why it’s so important:
The Next Big Thing: Redistricting and the Role of Communities of Interest
Ford School #policytalks Webinar
Some questions to consider in order to determine if working on a Community of Interest is right for your community:
– Has your community tried to work with your current representatives in Lansing or Washington and, if so, how has that gone for you?
– Are there policy issues that your community cares about and ways that government could be serving you better?
– Is your community split up among voting districts so its voice gets diluted in Lansing and Washington?
– Does your community have people who will work on civic education issues?
– Do you think your community would want to get involved in the redistricting process and testify before the Commission when it starts holding public hearings?
I would like to talk to you to see if we can help your community participate in the redistricting process. Please can contact me at:
Mobile/Text: (810) 247-0180
Voters Not Politicians, Outreach, COI, Thumb Region
League of Women Voters of the Flint Area