Department of Civil Rights: MICRC maps violate voting rights act

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LANSING, Mich. (WLNS) – The Michigan Department of Civil Rights has determined that the five electoral maps proposed by the Michigan Independent Citizens Redistricting Commission (MICRC) violate the federal Voting Rights Act.

The determination was filed by Dr. Jerome Reide, Legislative Liaison for the Michigan Department of Civil Rights.

“The maps under consideration do not measure up to the requirements of the law, and do not meet the test of fairness and equity that should be the goal of this Commission,” said Reide. “The Commission still has time to produce maps that will not dilute the minority vote or violate the Voting Rights Act.”

According to his analysis, none of the maps proposed include a majority Black district. Currently, Michigan has two majority-minority Congressional districts, the 13th, and 14th.

The Voting Rights Act requires that the Commission draw majority-minority districts to prevent vote dilution in Saginaw, Southfield, Flint, Pontiac, Taylor, Inkster, Redford, Hamtramck, and Detroit. 

The U.S. Supreme Court determined three threshold measures in Thornburg v. Gingles (1986) to evaluate whether an electoral map violates the rights of minority groups set forth in the Voting Rights Act:

  • A minority group must demonstrate it is large enough and compact enough to constitute a majority in an electoral district.
  • A minority group must demonstrate it is politically united.
  • A minority group must demonstrate the majority group historically votes sufficiently as a group to defeat the minority group’s preferred candidate.

Find MDCR’s memo to the MICRC on the maps in question here.

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