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MI Anti-Gerrymandering Group Presses On, Despite U.S. Supreme Court Ruling

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A U.S. Supreme Court decision will allow Michigan's gerrymandered districts to stay in place for 2020, but an independent citizens' commission will be redrawing them for 2022. (Voters Not Politicians)
A U.S. Supreme Court decision will allow Michigan's gerrymandered districts to stay in place for 2020, but an independent citizens' commission will be redrawing them for 2022. (Voters Not Politicians)
July 1, 2019

LANSING, Mich. – Despite a blow from the U.S. Supreme Court, anti-gerrymandering groups are pressing on to implement the Michigan voter initiative that gives redistricting power to an independent citizens' commission.

The high court ruled late last week that federal judges can't interfere with electoral maps drawn for partisan gain, which means that Michigan's highly gerrymandered districts will now remain in effect for the 2020 election.

But Nancy Wang, executive director of the group Voters Not Politicians, says the ruling doesn't affect Proposal 2, and new, nonpartisan maps will be in place for the 2022 elections.

"Two-and-a-half million people from all across Michigan, all political parties, came together to protect our democracy and to make our government work for the people, and I can't think of a thing that's more patriotic than that," she states.

The new maps will use data from the 2020 Census, so accuracy is key.

Also last week, the Supreme Court blocked adding a citizenship question to the census, which, if included, could cause an under-count in areas with high percentages of immigrant families.

Wang encourages people to consider volunteering to serve on the independent citizens' redistricting commission when the state starts taking applications later this year.

"Really, what we need are ordinary citizens that, you know, can go around the state and listen to people as they describe where the boundaries of their communities are, so where the election districts should be drawn around those communities," she stresses.

Wang says there was some talk about holding a special election for seats in the state Senate since the lawmakers were elected under the existing partisan maps.

But she says the high court's ruling nixes that possibility, and means the incumbents can serve out their current terms.

Suzanne Potter, Public News Service - MI