Black lawmakers file lawsuit to block Michigan redistribution cards – WAVY.com
LANSING, Michigan (AP) – Current and former lawmakers in the black state of Detroit have announced an ongoing lawsuit to block Michigan’s new legislative and parliamentary districts, claiming they are illegally diluting the voting power of Afro- Americans.
Monday’s step came days after the new Independent Citizen Redistribution Commission finalized legislative and legislative maps for the United States to come into effect in 2022 and for the past 10 years. The plans are more politically fair for Democrats, but have drawn criticism from black lawmakers and the state’s civil rights department, as they reduce the number of seats where African Americans make up the majority of the population. of voting age.
The old cards had 15 such seats by the end of the decade: two in the United States House, two in the State Senate, and 11 in the State House. Now there are seven, all at the State House.
The commissioners said black voters can still elect any candidate they want without representing at least half of a district’s electorate.
The lawsuit, however, alleges violations of US voting rights law and the Michigan constitution. Criterion # 1 for drawing the panel map was to comply with the 1965 law, which prohibits discriminatory voting practices and procedures.
Nabih Ayad, an attorney who is considering filing a lawsuit in Michigan’s Supreme Court, said the new cards – whether good for Democrats or Republicans – rob African Americans of the right to vote who end up with the “Little end of the stick”.
The 13-member commission and its lawyers said federal law does not require minority-majority constituencies. Bruce Adelson, who advised the panel on compliance with the Voting Rights Act, told commissioners there was a lot of “misinformation” or “a lack of information” circulating by critics of his approach.
“As previously stated, we believe in the advice of our legal counsel under voting rights law that we comply with voting rights law,” said commission spokesperson Edwards Woods. III.
The voter-created panel resumed the once-a-decade process that had been run by the Republican-controlled legislature and resulted in partisan gerrymandering. The commissioners defeated the “bundle” of African-American, strongly Democratic voters in Detroit, which has one of the highest percentages of black residents in the country.
The city had five State Senate districts. There will be eight under the new map, for example, after new seats are combined with suburban areas in Oakland and Macomb counties.
According to Lisa Handley, one of the panel’s experts, many minority opportunity districts drawn in 2011 had significantly more African-American residents of voting age than it took to elect prime candidates. She submitted a report to the panel saying that candidates preferred by black voters can win the general election if the seats are not 50 percent African American. But she also noted a lack of data to discern how black candidates may be affected by white voters in the primaries, who decide many races.
“Detroit deserves to have black leaders,” said former state representative Sherry Gay-Dagnogo, now a school board member. “We want to make sure that our children have the opportunity to see themselves in the Legislature and for the people who will fight for them in our classrooms, in our schools to defend policies.”
She urged the Michigan Democratic Party “to stand by our side” even though the cards are fairer for the party as a whole.
“It is unacceptable. We can do better than that,” Gay-Dagnogo said.
The lawsuit, if successful, would force the commission to revise the maps.
Lavora Barnes, president of the Democratic Party, said she did not want to see the diversity of lawmakers diminished.
“The CDM is committed to fighting to ensure fair representation for all Michiganders, including giving black and brown voters the opportunity to elect the candidate of their choice in a general election and primary,” she said in a written statement.
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