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With help from a new grant, Michigan State University’s Institute for Public Policy and Social Research is serving in a key role in educating and assisting Michigan’s Independent Citizens Redistricting Commission.

The Institute (IPPSR) has secured a $250,000 Joyce Foundation grant to extend educational and consulting activities for the state’s decennial redistricting.

“We expect IPPSR support to help improve the Redistricting Commission’s ability to handle challenges to its timeline, better meet its criteria and goals and succeed in producing maps with wider public and policymaker support,” said IPPSR Director Matt Grossmann.

Through the grant, IPPSR is conducting sessions to orient the first-ever Redistricting Commission to the U.S. Voting Rights Act, Communities of Interest and its constitutional duties to create new maps governing Michigan voting districts.

“This is an historic opportunity to help with redistricting, a critical government function under our Constitution, carried out under an entirely new process this cycle” said Grossmann, an MSU political science professor.

Listen to the State of the State Podcast on MSU Today with Russ White for additional perspective and redistricting events.

A 2018 amendment to the Michigan Constitution empowered a commission randomly selected from a pool of qualified applicants to draw the boundaries outlining the state’s U.S House, state Senate and House districts.

Districts must be redrawn every 10 years upon completion of a new U.S. Census and must be completed in time for the next statewide elections in 2022.

Through the grant, IPPSR is working with the University of Michigan’s Center for Local, State, and Urban Policy (CLOSUP). “We’re sharing resources, conducting educational programming and evaluating the redistricting process,” Grossmann said. See the CLOSUP announcement.

Grossmann served as moderator of CLOSUP’s webinar: Michigan Redistricting: Making Redistricting Fair and Effective. See presentations, resources and the webinar.

”CLOSUP is excited to help support and evaluate Michigan’s new approach to redistricting, one of the most significant policy developments in our home state in decades,” said Tom Ivacko, executive director of CLOSUP. “We look forward to partnering with our IPPSR colleagues on this important work.”

Housed at the University of Michigan’s Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy, CLOSUP fosters, supports, and conducts policy research, including the ongoing Michigan Public Policy Survey of the state’s local government leaders. The center engages with students, policymakers, the public, and other stakeholders to help inform discussions and policymaking on important public challenges.

A unit of MSU’s College of Social Science, IPPSR connects citizens to decisionmakers through public policy education, political leadership development and survey research. It is home to Public Policy Forums, Michigan Political Leadership Program, Office for Survey Research, Michigan Policy Wonk blog and State of the State Podcast.

“IPPSR is in a unique, nonpartisan position to draw upon affiliate faculty and scholars and to bring nationally known redistricting consultants to the commission’s attention,” Grossmann said.

The Chicago-based Joyce Foundation supports evidence-informed public policies and strategies to advance racial equity and economic mobility for the next generation in states including Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio and Wisconsin.