DETROIT – For the first time in Michigan’s history, an independent commission of citizens have redrawn the state’s political districts.
“This commission did not have any agenda other than to produce the best work product that we could,” Steven Terry Lett said.
The Michigan Independent Citizens Redistricting Commission created the maps. This redrawing will reshape congressional, senate and house maps. It’s part of an effort to curb gerrymandering. In 2018, 61% voted to strip lawmakers of that power.
“We listened to each other the best that we could despite having very different backgrounds, different histories,” Brittni Kellom said.
On Tuesday, the commission approved the new legislative maps.
A group of 13 Michigan residents crisscrossed the state and weighed public feedback for months.
“It’s an impossible task to make perfect and not everyone is going to be happy with the results,” Douglas Clark said.
The process was not without controversy. The commission was sued by several media outlets for holding a private meeting.
“Do I wish there was more time to get it right? Absolutely,” Brittni Kellom said.
Some state lawmakers from Detroit oppose the new districts and argued Black voters were disenfranchised.
“I hope to God that we are correct and we have created the adequate amount of voters to have adequate representation for the Black community because that is so critically important,” MICRC Chairperson Rebecca Szetela said. “But we don’t have the data to drive those decisions.”
The new congressional, Senate and house maps will more than likely face legal challenges in the coming weeks.
“Anything can happen with the court. I would certainly hope they uphold our maps and if they do not, then we will go back to the drawing board and will fix them,” Szetela said.