New lawsuit claims Michigan’s redrawn district maps unfairly favor Republicans

Prominent voting rights groups to introduce 3rd lawsuit against Michigan’s new political maps

Another lawsuit is set to be filed over the state’s new district maps that would draw new lines for voters for the next 10 years. That suit was announced at a press conference Friday (Jan. 28) morning.

Yet another lawsuit is being filed over Michigan’s new district maps that would draw new lines for voters for the next 10 years.

Prominent voting rights groups announced during a Friday press conference that they are filing a lawsuit against the Michigan Independent Citizens Redistricting Commission over the newly-drawn district maps. The lawsuit will be the third lawsuit filed in connection with the maps, which were approved last month.

Related: Michigan commission urges court to reject redistricting challenge

The lawsuit announced Friday is taking a different approach than the others filed so far: The new suit is taking aim at whether the maps unfairly help Republicans over Democrats at the state level. Groups like the League of Women Voters, Asian American Pacific Islanders Vote and Detroit Action are bringing this lawsuit forward, citing partisan fairness in the redistricting process.

The lawsuit, which is set to be filed next week, will ask the commission to redraw the maps to fix what the groups see as a partisan bias. The groups say they are concerned that the newly drawn district maps overly favor Republicans, potentially silencing the voices of underserved communities.

“If partisan fairness isn’t achieved, our communities will continue to face representatives with outsized influence, policies further out of touch with our needs and elected officials who are out of touch with our communities,” said Brandon Snyder with Detroit Action.

The lawsuit comes after Detroit’s Black Caucus filed their own lawsuit last month, alleging that the maps failed to meet federal civil rights standards -- something the state’s civil rights office agreed with. Then, just last week, seven Republicans from West Michigan sued, alleging the maps don’t have equal population sizes.

Each of these lawsuits want the state’s district maps redrawn -- but time is running out before the 2022 midterm elections.

There is a debate among elections experts about Michigan’s maps: Civil rights advocates have said that the new maps aren’t adequate, but other advocates, like those at the Brennan Center for Justice, have called the new maps “success stories.”

The first lawsuit filed by Detroit’s Black Caucus was heard by the Michigan State Supreme Court last week. Justices appeared reluctant to touch a federal Voting Rights Act challenge, which means the case could get kicked to a federal court -- prolonging the timeline as the clock ticks down to November.

Related: Metro Detroit Congressional district will be up for grabs if newly drawn maps stand