Michigan redistribution maps show no partisanship

LANSING, Michigan – Michigan’s redistribution process is well underway, and Michigan state researchers say in a new report that the independent commission responsible for drawing the new maps showed no signs of partisanship, but Republicans still have a slight advantage and there is growing controversy around the representation of blacks.

“Almost all of these cards are by traditional measures biased in favor of Republicans in this statewide 50/50 election, they would be more likely to give Republicans a majority of representatives,” said Matt Grossmann, director of Institute of Public Policy and Social Research. at MSU. “And the reason is simply that Democrats are more geographically concentrated in Michigan cities than Republicans.”

Grossmann said there was “no region as Republican as Detroit is a Democrat and therefore it is very difficult to draw ridings that would favor Democrats in terms of statewide 50/50 elections.” .

None of the preliminary maps, which are labeled with the names of trees found in Michigan, are predominantly black.

“The controversy fundamentally is that there are no African-American majority districts in their House, Senate or United States House maps,” Grossmann said. “There are a lot of districts that have about 40 percent African American population. And so the problem is whether African Americans will be able to elect their preferred candidates in those districts?”

Michigan officials are concerned about this change because of the impact it could have on black representation.

“I mean, it’s crazy you go from 17 predominantly African American districts across the state where we have a state official or state senator to none,” Rev. Horace Sheffield said. , a faith and civil rights leader in Detroit.

Sheffield said it was important to maintain majority minority districts.

“I don’t think they have to be completely separate. But at the same time, I don’t think we need to lose our representation. I mean, our voice is vital. We have a large population in Southeast Michigan and in most major cities in Michigan, Saginaw, Pontiac, Flint, Lansing has a large African American population, ”he said.

Edward Woods III, director of communications and outreach for the Michigan Independent Citizens Redistricting Commission, says all proposed cards meet the criteria set out in the Voting Rights Act and create more opportunities for minority communities to elect people to represent their interests.

“Once again, we are trying to follow the seven redistribution criteria in order to avoid gerrymandering and to maximize the minority vote,” Woods said. “When you pack minorities, you decrease their voices. When you unpack the minorities according to the Voting Rights Act, not only will they be able to elect any candidate they want, but they might also have more opportunities. “

There is still time to comment on the new neighborhood maps. In Lansing, the commission will hold a public hearing on Thursday from 12 p.m. to 8 p.m.

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