Advance Notice: Briefs

Redistricting commission approves maps for next round of public comment

By: - October 12, 2021 1:21 pm

Laina Stebbins graphic

The Michigan Independent Citizens Redistricting Commission (MICRC) approved Monday four maps for the state’s congressional districts, three for the state House and three for the state Senate, though these maps are still far from the final product. 

The commission now will present these maps during a number of public hearings throughout October and will consider comments on the proposed maps. 

The 13-member panel, composed of four Republicans, four Democrats and five independents, was formed after voters passed a 2018 state constitutional measure. Prior to that, the Legislature was in charge of redistricting, with the governor signing off on maps. 

One of the Congressional maps approved by the Michigan Independent Citizens Redistricting Commission Monday

The new legislative district lines will go into effect for the 2022 elections and be in effect for the next 10 years.

Some voting rights advocates have raised concerns with the proposed maps. The maps cut back on the number of majority-Black state House and Senate districts and combine parts of Detroit with whiter suburbs in the metro Detroit area. 

Analysts have said the maps for both the state House and Senate have a GOP advantage, but all of the current proposed maps are considered to have less of a GOP lean compared to the maps drawn in 2011. The proposed maps for the congressional districts have a slight advantage for Democrats, but align with partisan data from the last few elections. 

The maps create issues for incumbents in Congress as a number of their districts overlap. 

As the Advance previously reported, the commission cut back on the number of public hearings from 10 to five, which advocates believe give the public less time to weigh in. 

The last public hearing for comment on the proposed maps is scheduled for Oct. 26, then the MICRC will adjust its maps and vote on one map each for Congress, state Senate and state House. 

Michigan’s constitution requires that the commission adopt its final maps by Nov. 1. However, due to a delay in census data earlier this year, the commission is planning to propose those maps by Nov. 5.

Commissioners anticipate approving final maps by Dec. 30, but if the panel were to make any revisions, the 45-day public comment period would start over. Many experts also expect additional lawsuits that could further slow down the process.

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Allison R. Donahue
Allison R. Donahue

Allison R. Donahue covers education, women's issues and LGBTQ issues. Previously, she was a suburbs reporter at the St. Cloud Times in St. Cloud, Minn., covering local education and government. As a graduate of Grand Valley State University, she has previous experience as a freelance researcher for USA Today and an intern with WOOD TV-8. When she is away from her desk, she spends her time going to concerts, comedy shows or getting lost on hikes in different places around the world.

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