U.S. Capitol | Susan J. Demas
Despite seeing an increase in population, Michigan lost a congressional seat, according to the U.S. Census Bureau Monday, dropping the state’s number of U.S. House representatives from 14 to 13 starting in the 2022 election cycle.
The state’s 2020 population, which is how the Census bases the congressional apportionment, is 10,077,331. This is an increase of 2% — 193,691 people — since the 2010 census. However, other states gained population at a more rapid rate, costing Michigan a district.
Michigan has steadily been losing at least one member of Congress since the 1970 census count, when Michigan had 19 Congress members.
Along with the drop in representation in Washington, D.C., Michigan will also be losing an Electoral College vote, decreasing from 16 to 15.
It has been a tumultuous year for the Census in Michigan, especially around the Michigan Independent Citizens Redistricting Commission (ICRC), a panel of 13 Michigan residents — four Democrats, four Republicans and five independents — in charge of drawing the state’s new U.S. House and state House and Senate district lines for the 2022 elections, which is dependent on the official Census data.
The ICRC is required to meet a deadline of Nov. 1 to have its plans for the new maps finalized and by Sept. 17, or 45 days before the maps are finalized, for a public comment period.
Last year, the Census Bureau pushed back its plan to deliver redistricting data to the states from March 31 to Sept. 30, creating a conflict for the ICRC’s deadline.
However, last month the Census Bureau announced it will provide a legacy format summary redistricting data file to all states by mid-to-late August. While this won’t be a complete official data set, it does give states the opportunity to either use an outside vendor to process the early redistricting data files or tabulate the data on their own.
On Tuesday, Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson and the ICRC filed a lawsuit with the Michigan Supreme Court aiming to establish a new deadline of Dec. 11 to complete the redistricting maps due to the delay in census data.
But this is just one of the many challenges Michigan has experienced with the 2020 Census.
In November, U.S. Reps. Rashida Tlaib (D-Detroit), Debbie Dingell (D-Dearborn), Brenda Lawrence (D-Southfield), Andy Levin (D-Bloomfield Twp.) and U.S. Sens. Debbie Stabenow (D-Lansing) and Gary Peters (D-Bloomfield Twp.) wrote a letter to the Census Bureau Director Steve Dillingham asking for details about the accuracy of the 2020 Census count in Michigan.
On Monday, Census officials said they were confident in the accuracy of the count, despite hangups caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
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