(The Center Square) – A report that an alleged “independent” on Michigan’s Independent Citizens Redistricting Committee (MICRC) has a long history of supporting left-of-center Democratic candidates throws claims of the committee's independence into question.
The Washington Free Beacon reported Anthony Eid applied for the commission as an independent, stating that he does not "affiliate with either the Republican or Democratic Party."
The publication's review of his social media presence shows Eid has supported members of the Democratic Party but not Republicans.
Eid's application states he supports "candidates in each party … for different reasons," but he hasn’t publicly backed a Republican candidate for office, according to the review. He wrote he was "proud to live in a state that voted for Bernie Sanders in the primary" in 2016.
Months later, Eid endorsed then-Democratic Minnesota congressman Keith Ellison for Democratic National Committee chair, and Eid promoted Democrat Abdul El-Sayed in a 2018 primary campaign, the Free Beacon reported.
Michigan Independent Citizens Redistricting Commission spokesman Edward Woods III cited Michigan’s Constitution (pages 18-23) in a response to the Free Beacon article.
“The Constitution only requires the applicant to identify their affiliation,” Woods told The Center Square in an email. “In Michigan, it is either the Democrats, Republicans, or neither the Democrats nor Republicans. The Commission does not vet or choose candidates.”
Eid currently holds a crucial swing vote on the 13-member commission consisting of four Democrats, four Republicans, and five independents. A majority of seven members –including two Democrats, two Republicans, and two independents – must agree to enact a proposed map lasting until the next census in 2030.
The MICRC is required to hold at least 10 public hearings to gather public input. More than 9,300 Michigan voters applied to serve on the committee.
The state legislature has previously redrawn Michigan political districts. But in 2018, voters passed a ballot initiative aimed at reducing gerrymandering since politicians can directly benefit from drawing political boundaries. Instead, the initiative granted power to an “independent” redistricting commission drawn from regular Michiganders.