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Jan. 3 selection to fill redistricting seat

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(The Center Square) – The Michigan Department of State will hold a live-streamed random selection Jan. 3 at 3:30 p.m. to replace a commissioner who resigned from the 13-member Michigan Independent Citizens Redistricting Commission.

Commissioner Dustin Witjes, who affiliates with the Democratic Party, was allegedly caught living and working in Illinois while receiving a taxpayer-funded paycheck working for the commission, resigned on Wednesday.

According to the state constitution, a new commissioner will be randomly selected from the remaining pool of semi-finalist applicants who affiliate with the same party as the departing commissioner. Of the 200 semifinalists randomly selected in June 2020, there are 52 remaining who affiliate with the Democratic Party.

The commission is comprised of four Republicans, four Democrats, and five independents.

The Jan. 3 event will be livestreamed on Michigan Independent Citizens Redistricting Commission social media accounts. Rehmann LLC, which has conducted all previous random selections, will perform this random selection. Before yesterday’s resignation, two commissioners previously resigned and random selections were held in September and October 2020 to fill those vacancies.

Rep. Ann Bollin, R-Brighton Township, welcomed the resignation that she called “long overdue.”

“Living outside the state inherently disconnects individuals from the communities they are supposed to represent,” Bollin said in a statement. “It removes them from the direct consequences of the decisions they make as commissioners. This kind of detachment undermines the integrity of the entire redistricting process and erodes public trust.”

Media reports say another commissioner is also living out-of-state while collecting a paycheck for the commission.

“With one member still residing outside the state, and other disturbing allegations that have recently emerged regarding the partisan affiliations of an ‘independent’ member of the commission, it’s imperative for the Secretary of State to address this issue swiftly and decisively,” Bollin said. “Michigan deserves commissioners fully committed and directly impacted by the decisions they make.”

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