Lawsuit Challenging Redistricting Denied

The controversial redistricting plan put together by republicans has stood up against the pressure of local civil rights groups.  Many residents felt that this plan could have been more fair and involved more bi-partisan leadership.  Regardless, the feds have gone on the record and pretty much say the lawsuit has no merit whatsoever.  The lawsuit was heard by a smaller judge panel and they collectively decided that there simply wasn’t enough evidence for the proceeding to move on.  This isn’t really surprising to anyone involved, but it will have a major impact on who holds political office for years to come.

The most glaring change involved districts near Detroit, MI.  I touched upon this in a previous blog post, but essentially one district was completely eliminated while many others have had the liberal majority diluted.  Civil Rights activists in the state claimed that the new congressional maps are pretty much forcing the hands of black politicians to oppose each other for their job and the makeup of the district won’t allow residents to hold their elected officials accountable.

Lansing-Capital

Snyder Signs New MI Redistricting Map

It’s now official.  The governor of Michigan, Rick Snyder, has put the new redistricting map into law.  This seems to be a big step for state republicans and even leaves one Democrat with no district at all.  The democrat who lost his district is Gary Peters.  His entire district was taken away and now he’s forced to make a tough decision.  Does he compete with fellow Democrat Sander Levin who is also a democrat or does he run in a district where he is a clear underdog and has little change of re-election.  Is this a coincidence?  Probably not.  Regardless, they both have vowed to run for re-election.

The redistricting maps have created controversy and claims of gerrymandering to help for political purposes.  Levin has claimed to do everything in his power to fight this map and he could have luck.  Even though the governor signed this into law, there are still some obstacles for the map to pass.  I contacted a few local attorneys in the capital area.  Only The Clark Law Office – Car Accident Lawyers in Lansing, MI were nice enough to give me a few minutes of their time. While this kind of topic isn’t their specialty, they informed me that there are still some legal challenges which must be addressed and finally it must be passed with the Department of Justice before it officially becomes law.  Even so, these maps are getting dangerously close to passing and the effects will be a certain blow to democrats for years to come.  The next chance of redistricting will be 10 years from the date of the newly approved map.

Michigan’s overall population dropped over the past 10 years which is not really a surprise given the struggling economy of the state.  Detroit lost over 25% of its total population with over 236,000 residents moving elsewhere.

About the 2011 Michigan Citizen’s Redistricting Competition

The 2011 “Michigan Citizens’ Redistricting Competition” will provide any Michigan citizen with the tools to produce potential district maps for Michigan’s 14 Congressional Seats, or Michigan’s state senate or legislative seats. The maps will be then scored based upon objective criteria, such as how well they keep county and city residents in one district or how close each district comes to having the same number of people.

The competition’s goal is to demonstrate that an open, transparent redistricting process based on objective criteria and citizen input can produce fair legislative districts for Michigan voters. Similar competitions were recently held in Virginia and Ohio. Each demonstrated that an open, transparent redistricting process based on objective criteria and citizen input can produce fair legislative districts in Michigan.

A nonpartisan panel of five judges will evaluate and score all of the plans. The plans that comply with state and federal law and best meet the objective criteria will be published online and submitted to the Michigan Legislature for consideration.

The contest is a nonpartisan project of the Michigan Center for Election Law and Administration, in partnership with the Michigan Redistricting Collaborative.