Lawsuit To Stop Gerrymandered Maps Targeting Black Voters Filed


A new lawsuit has been filed in Michigan challenging the state’s new state legislative and Congressional district maps. Plaintiffs in the case include members of the Michigan House of Representatives and individual Black voters, and those behind this latest move allege, as summarized by the voting rights group Democracy Docket, “that the new maps dilute the voting strength of Black voters, particularly in and around the city of Detroit, in violation of the state Constitution and the Voting Rights Act (VRA).” The plaintiffs are now requesting a court order for the Michigan Independent Citizens Redistricting Commission to redraw the disputed maps.

Apparently, “the two majority-Black [Congressional] districts under the old map were eliminated in this round of redistricting and instead were split into eight new districts in which Black voters make up a minority of the voting population,” Democracy Docket explains, and the lawsuit itself asserts that “by breaking the majority-Black US Congressional districts into eight voter districts from its previous two voter districts, it will dilute the vote of the Black community in Michigan into meaninglessness.” Keeping Black voters in the minority in this slew of districts will make it more difficult for the community to elect representatives who connect to its interests.

These are the sorts of problems that have been faced by marginalized communities in areas around the country. In Ohio, the state’s Republican Governor Mike DeWine recently approved Congressional district lines that separate certain suburbs of Cincinnati — which contain a large number of Black residents — from the city itself, tacking those suburbs onto a largely white and largely Republican district. The lines are under court dispute, and redistricting expert Dave Wasserman recently shared that he found it difficult to imagine that the set-up would be upheld. As he explained it, he’d be “pretty surprised if the GOP-drawn congressional map is upheld by the Ohio Supreme Court,” in part because of “Hamilton Co. (Cincinnati), which is unnecessarily split three ways to dilute Dem votes.”

Other examples of GOP gerrymandering — meaning the manipulation of the district line-drawing process — include the decision by officials in Texas to hand two new U.S. House districts to white majorities, even though the population growth that provided the state with those districts was mostly tied to non-white residents.