Five From SWM Selected as Semi-Finalists for MI Citizens Redistricting Commission

A Stevensville man and an Allegan woman are among five people from Michigan’s Great Southwest selected as semi-finalists this morning among the 200 named in that pool for the Michigan Independent Citizens Redistricting Commission which will eventually draw the geographic lines for Michigan’s legislative districts going forward.

In the event which was live-streamed online this morning, 55 year old Jeffrey Chorny of Stevensville, a political independent with no declared party affiliation was selected along with 63-year old Gwen Kooy of Allegan, a Republican, and 20-year old Kaleb Peterson, 53-year old Raymond Pogliano, both Kalamazoo Republicans, and 63-year old Edward Thompson, a Galesburg Republican. They join the pool of 200 drawn from 9,367 processed applications from all across Michigan.

The 200 semi-finalists for Michigan’s first Independent Citizens Redistricting Commission were randomly-selected this morning by the Michigan Department of State (MDOS). The random selection was performed by Rehmann LLC, the independent accounting firm hired through public bidding process to facilitate the random selection. The 200 applications are now available to the public online by clicking this link: http://RedistrictingMichigan.org

Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson says, “We are extremely grateful for the thousands of Michiganders who have been excited and engaged in this process from the very beginning.” She adds, “With this semi-finalist selection we’ve moved to the next phase of the process, and are one step closer to making Michigan history and having fair and representative legislative maps drawn by the people.”

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The semi-finalists were drawn from a pool of 9,326 applications. Per the Michigan Constitution, the semi-finalist pool must be representative of geographic and demographic makeup of the state. The group was required to have 60 applicants who affiliate with the Democratic Party, 60 applicants who affiliate with the Republican Party, and 80 applicants who do not affiliate with either major party. Data to determine the demographic makeup of the state, and thus the criteria for the selection software, was pulled from the 2018 American Community Survey 5-Year Estimate, which is available to the general public via the American Community Survey Data Profiles online search tool.

The entire selection process was conducted via livestream, with Stephen Blann of Rehmann LLC operating the selection software and then matching the 200 selected applicant ID numbers to the corresponding applicants in real time. Video of the process is available on the website and archived on MDOS’s Youtube channel and social media platforms.

There were 90 applicants from Berrien County with just Chorny being selected. Additionally, 70 residents of Van Buren County and 24 from Cass County applied, but none were selected in the random draw from either of those counties in the Tri-County region. Oakland County produced the largest number of applicants with 1,777, while Schoolcraft County had the smallest with only 3 interested applicants.

The semi-finalist applications will now be delivered to the Legislature where leaders in both chambers and parties will have the month of July to each strike up to 5 applicants from the pool, also per the Michigan Constitution. The final selection for the 13 commissioners will take place in August.

For a more detailed breakdown of the selection process methodology and answers to other frequently asked questions regarding the semi-finalist pool, visit the link above at RedistrictingMichigan.org.