Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson and the Michigan Independent Citizens Redistricting Commission have filed a lawsuit seeking a new deadline for finalizing Michigan's new congressional districts.
The suit asks the Michigan Supreme Court to institute a deadline due to a delay in census and reapportionment data from the federal government.
Under the proposal passed in 2018 that created the MICRC, the commission is supposed to make maps available to the public by Sept. 17 so there can be 45 days of public comment. The problem, according to the lawsuit, is that the U.S. Census Bureaus won't have official reapportionment data until Sept. 30.
Benson and the commission are now asking the court to move the deadline for maps to be available to Dec. 11, and the final maps to be approved on Jan. 25, 2022.
“Our state constitution guarantees the people of Michigan 45 days to review and provide comment on the maps created by the independent commission, and this time must be granted them despite the delay by the U.S. Census Bureau,” Benson said in a release. “We launched this historic commission in a manner that was citizen led and transparent and voters across the state and across the political spectrum expect it to continue to operate this way.”
This is the first time the commission will re-draw Michigan's legislative maps. The 13-member commission consists of four Republicans, four Democrats and five Independents. Previously, the Michigan Legislature drew the lines which were then approved by the governor.
Michigan has one of the most gerrymandered legislative maps in the country, and the proposal creating the commission looked to end that.