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Michigan elections official says it’s time to stop arguing about district maps

congressional districts map of Southeast Michigan
Michigan House of Representatives
Southeast Michigan's congressional districts post-2010 redistricting.

Michigan’s top elections official says the Legislature should act quickly to draw new maps for legislative and congressional districts.

A federal court struck down Michigan’s district maps as too partisan. The court ruled Michigan’s lines provide an illegal advantage to Republicans in many districts. Republican leaders in the Legislature say they will appeal the ruling.

Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson says that would prolong the process, and that lawmakers should get the job done without taking the case to the U.S. Supreme Court.

“We’ve got to just have clarity and move forward,” she says. “So, if the Supreme Court steps in and just upends the process again, it’s just going to create more chaos and confusion.”

Benson’s office is also working to set up a process for a new commission to handle the job of drawing new district lines. The commission was adopted by voters last year.

Benson says that shows the public has lost confidence that the process is fair.

“Now the political parties may not be happy with the maps,” she says, “and, in fact, I think the mark of success of a true non-partisan districting plan is if neither party is happy with it.”

The court decision would force new state Senate elections next year. 

Rick Pluta is Senior Capitol Correspondent for the Michigan Public Radio Network. He has been covering Michigan’s Capitol, government, and politics since 1987.
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