Michigan civil rights department: Redistricting maps violate federal law

A new analysis comes after months of mapping and arguing and marathon hearings about what Michigan’s voting landscape will look like.

The analysis says the maps would break federal law, and if they pass it could effect just about every voter across the state.

That is the advice from the Michigan Department of Civil Rights, which sent in a scathing new look at the new maps of Michigan’s changing political districts. The state is losing a seat in congress after a drop in the population.

The maps, from the state’s independent redistricting commission were originally five. They were changed to three in a meeting at the beginning of the month.

“The maps under consideration do not measure up to the requirements of the law, and do not meet the test of fairness and equity that should be the goal of this Commission,” the analysis’ author Dr. Jerome Reide wrote.

Under federal law the commission has to draw districts that don’t take voting power away from majority-minority communities. Particularly, in cities like Flint, Hamtramack or Detroit. It’s meant to make sure every voice and voter has a chance to be heard, impacting everything from schools, the pandemic, jobs and public safety.

In response a spokesperson for the commission said, “We trust the counsel received from our voting rights attorney.”

This comes too as the University of Michigan said the census undercounted tens of thousands of Detroiters this year. Mayor Mike Duggan talking about those findings on “Flashpoint” with our Devin Scillian.

“One of the things the U of M found was that the post office was delivering mail to far more houses than the census bureau found, and if they had just followed the postman they would have had a better count,” said Duggan.

Related: Mayor: Research shows Detroit was undercounted in 2020 Census

The clock is also ticking, because of delays in the census the commission has had less time to work out these maps and are expected to vote on final maps starting Dec. 28. with midterm elections not far off.

Dr. Reide also said in his analysis there is still time to redraw these maps. Either way, it’s expected these maps will be met with legal challenges from all parts of the political spectrum, meaning this fight is far from over.


About the Author:

Grant comes to Local 4 from Oklahoma City. He joins the news team as co-anchor of Local 4 News Today weekend mornings and is a general assignment reporter.