Michigan Radio: Report quantifies Michigan’s very real gerrymandering problem

Michigan really does has a gerrymandering problem, according to a non-partisan group’s report.

The Citizens Research Council of Michigan put the state’s Congressional and state legislative districts through three statistical tests. The tests aim to objectively measure whether the state’s district lines reflect a deliberate attempt to skew election results in one party’s favor, or are the natural result of complying with federal Voting Rights Act requirements, geographic considerations, or other non-partisan factors that could influence how district lines are drawn.

The methodologies are complex, and researchers admit they’re imperfect. But the results of all three tests strongly suggest that Michigan is highly-gerrymandered, with current district maps drawn so that Republicans are ensured disproportionate majorities on both the state and federal levels.

In 2014 and 2016, Republicans and Democrats received close to equal numbers of statewide votes in state House races. Yet Republicans hold a 63-47 seat majority. The discrepancy was even worse for state Senate races in 2014, when Republicans took home just slightly more votes but came away with an overwhelming 27-11 majority.

Citizens Research Council president Eric Lupher says the report is an attempt to “think about gerrymandering in a way that goes beyond a simple eye test.”

The result “really does suggest that gerrymandering is affecting how we are electing our officials, and how the people are represented by those officials,” Lupher said.

Read more: Michigan Radio, July 2, 2018