By Charlie Beall | January 6, 2022
On Tuesday, December 28th 2021, Michigan’s Independent Citizens Redistricting Commission adopted new maps for Congress, State Senate, and State House. Each map passed with a constitutional majority of at least two Democrat, two Republican, and two Non-Affiliated commissioners. This commission, made up of everyday citizens, achieved this feat amid a global pandemic, a six-month delay in census data, Michigan’s loss of a congressional district, unyielding scrutiny from the press, and being the first public servants to implement the framework of Proposal 18-2. Their ability to rise above their political differences to meet their constitutional duty is a testament to their commitment to our democracy and an example of what people across the political spectrum can achieve when we work together to prioritize the will of voters – not politicians.
In other words – we did it!
Michigan’s New Redistricting Process
- The Selection and Adoption of Final Maps by the MICRC
- The Final Maps Were the Fairest Options
- What’s Next for the New Maps?
- VNPEF’s role in 2022
The Selection and Adoption of Final Maps by the MICRC
The MICRC convened on December 28th, following the constitutionally-mandated 45-day public comment period. All 13 members of the commission were in attendance. Although the commission and its staff had strongly suggested that they would need up to three days of discussion before voting, the MICRC unexpectedly took a final vote on the maps in the late afternoon on the 28th. The commission received a final report and held a discussion with their VRA legal counsel Bruce Adelson prior to the first vote taking place. In the end, they adopted the “Chestnut” Congressional map, “Linden” for State Senate, and “Hickory” for State House.
Proposal 2’s constitutional language was crafted specifically to prevent gerrymandering by any one party. A constitutional majority requires a majority of commissioners, including at least two votes from each “bucket” of commissioners (Republican, Democrat and Non-Affiliated) to adopt a map. For every map they adopted on the 28th, the commissioners reached a constitutional majority, though how they reached that majority was different for each type of map.
Final Vote Breakdown
|Steve Lett||Non Affiliated||✅||✅||✅|
|Janice Vallette||Non Affiliated||✅||✅||✅|
|Richard Weiss||Non Affiliated||✅||✅||✅|
|Anthony Eid||Non Affiliated||✅||✅||✅|
|Rebecca Szetela||Non Affiliated||❌||✅||✅|
The Final Maps were the Fairest Options
Commissioners of different political affiliations rallied around and adopted the fairest maps out of options created through the commission’s collaborative map making efforts.
|Partisan Fairness Performance Report|
|Efficiency Gap||~D Seats||D Prop Bias||~R Seats||R Prop Bias|
|Cherry State Senate||3.40%||20||0.32%||18||-0.32%|
|Linden State Senate ✅||3.30%||20||0.30%||18||-0.30%|
|Palm State Senate||6.10%||19||-2.30%||19||2.30%|
|Hickory State House ✅||4.30%||57||-0.50%||53||0.50%|
|Magnolia State House||5.40%||56||-1.40%||54||1.40%|
|Pine v5 State House||4.30%||57||-0.50%||53||0.50%|
|Chestnut Congressional ✅||0.60%||7||1.50%||6||-1.50%|
Analysis on Partisan Fairness, conducted by MICRC staff and published on Nov 12th, 2021
What’s Next for the New Maps?
Voters Not Politicians has long anticipated that multiple lawsuits would be filed in 2022 – challenging the maps, the commission’s process, or perhaps the amendment itself. VNPEF has been monitoring and will continue to closely monitor all litigation. We are aware that several organizations are planning to file suit, but at this time, no complaints have been filed in State or Federal court.
Key Dates & Deadlines
Jan 27 — Commission’s final report
Jan – Feb — Litigation Period
Feb 26 — Maps become law and are in effect for the 2022 Primary & General Elections
April 19 — Candidate filing deadline
August 2 — Michigan State Primary Election
Nov 8 — Michigan State General Election
The New York Times front-page article covering the historic passage of fair maps in Michigan – Printed on Dec 30th, 2021
“This is about voters taking our power back,” said Nancy Wang, the executive director of Voters Not Politicians. “All we wanted to do was get to where we are now.”