Court approves new Michigan House district map

(Michigan Advance/Anna Gustafson)

By Michigan Advance

March 28, 2024


MICHIGAN—A three-judge federal court panel has affirmed new boundaries drawn by the Michigan Independent Citizens Redistricting Commission (MICRC) for some state House seats.

“Federal law provides us no basis to reject the Commission’s remedial House plan,” the panel wrote in an 11-page decision released Wednesday.

In December, a federal court ordered the MICRC to redraw a previous map after it was determined that it diluted Black voting power in more than a dozen metro Detroit legislative districts. Detroit is 77% African American.

The panel had a tight timeline to draw seven new House districts, as the filing deadline to run in the 2024 election is April 23. The MICRC last month approved the Motown Sound FC E1 map, which ended up redrawing 15 districts.

MICRC Executive Director Edward Woods III said the court’s decision showed that “democracy won.”

“Despite doubts and concerns raised, the commission demonstrated once again that it could focus on its purpose to draw fair maps with citizen input,” said Woods III during a virtual news conference. “We appreciate the public input that overwhelmingly favored the Motown Sound FC E1 in making our job easier. We now have a clear road map to follow in completing the remedial State Senate plan.”

All 110 state House districts are up for reelection this year with party control on the line. Democrats won a narrow 56-54 victory in 2022, but the chamber is currently split 54-54 with two Democratic members resigning in November. The special general election is set for April 16 and Democrats are favored in the two races.

The MICRC will now redraw six state Senate districts. It has approved a tentative timeline to craft maps and seek public input that will start April 12 and conclude July 30. Most Senate seats will not be on the ballot until 2026.

The MICRC was created after voters approved a 2018 amendment to the state Constitution and it crafted new maps that were used for the 2022 election. Prior to that, the Legislature would draw maps every 10 years and the governor would have to approve them.

A group of Michigan residents, which included several Black former state lawmakers, who filed the lawsuit, Agee v. Benson, challenging the MICRC’s previous maps, called the new state House map an “improvement.” 

Sherry Gay-Dagnogo, an African-American former state House member from Detroit, was one of the plaintiffs.

“While our expert Sean Trende demonstrated that the Motown Sound Map does not provide the greatest number of Black majority seats with the highest Black voting age population, we embrace the words of the late Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., that ‘the Arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice,’ and as such we are grateful that the Agee v. Benson lawsuit yielded a greater opportunity for Detroit voters to elect a candidate of their choice in seven house districts. Our focus now turns towards educating the community on the House Map changes, and drawing a new Senate map,” said Gay-Dagnogo in a statement to the Advance.

Jamie Lyons-Eddy, co-founder and executive director of Voters Not Politicians, which spearheaded the 2018 ballot measure, said the group is pleased with the court decision.

“We at Voters Not Politicians have always had faith in the constitutional amendment we designed and most importantly, in the voters who support independent redistricting,” Lyons-Eddy said. “With this decision, the court has reaffirmed that faith and upheld the will of millions of Michigan voters who demanded an independent, transparent, citizen-led redistricting process when they voted for Proposal 2 in 2018.”

Woods urged state residents to participate in MICRC future public meetings. Meeting information can be found on its website:

READ MORE: Michigan redistricting commission finalizes revised state House voting map

This coverage was republished from Michigan Advance pursuant to a Creative Commons license. 




MI Grand Rapids Food Voting

Local News

Related Stories
Share This