Grand Rapids, MI – Campaign Legal Center (CLC) and Voters Not Politicians (VNP) issued the following statements after a U.S. District Court ruling which upheld the congressional maps developed by Michigan’s independent redistricting commission:
“Elections should be determined by voters, not politicians. I am grateful the court sided with Michigan’s voters, who overwhelmingly supported the creation of an independent redistricting commission to design fair maps that ensure our political system is truly of, by and for the people,” said Paul Smith, senior vice president at Campaign Legal Center.
“This November, Michiganders will be voting for Congressional representatives with fair, voter-drawn maps for the first time in our state’s history,” said Nancy Wang, executive director of Voters Not Politicians. “We are grateful to the CLC legal team for its expertise and prompt action in defending the will of Michigan voters who approved the Michigan Independent Redistricting Commission and the requirements it used to draw new Congressional districts.”
Michigan voters passed a citizen-led ballot initiative in 2018 that created an independent redistricting commission to draw congressional maps. The commission dutifully adopted and enacted a new plan for Michigan’s 13 Congressional districts in late December 2021. A group of Michigan plaintiffs then filed a lawsuit challenging the maps and seeking to overturn them.
In February, CLC intervened in the lawsuit on behalf of VNP to ensure that the court faithfully interpreted the redistricting standards enacted by the voters of Michigan. As the principal sponsor of that ballot initiative, VNP sought to defend the procedures used by the nonpartisan commission and ensure that efforts to undermine its authority or undo the purpose of the amendment were curbed.
Independent redistricting commissions take the power of redistricting out of the hands of partisan legislators, who have proven that they will use the process to gain power when given the opportunity to do so. These commissions give the power to the citizens to choose their representatives and create a more fair and transparent process for redrawing districts.
On Friday, April 1, the court upheld the maps drawn by the Michigan Independent Citizens Redistricting Commission saying the plan, “came the closest to perfect compliance with the Supreme Court’s ‘one-person, one-vote’ rule.”