Michigan

Michigan is a gerrymandered swing state that both parties have won in recent presidential elections. With the support of the NDRC, Democrat Gretchen Whitmer won the 2018 governor’s race by a 9-point margin with 53% of the vote. The NDRC also supported the passage of Proposal 2, a redistricting reform measure that will establish an independent redistricting commission for the state. The NDRC also helped flip five seats in the Michigan state Senate and five seats in the state House.

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Redistricting in Michigan

The following timeline is a high-level overview outlining major redistricting events and activity in the state of Michigan over the last 10 years.

2010

Republicans won trifecta control of the state, meaning that Republicans won control of the governorship and both chambers of the state legislature.

2011

Census data delivered to Michigan.

Republican-controlled legislature drew and approved new congressional and state legislative maps, both of which were challenged in court as gerrymandered maps.

Republican Governor Rick Snyder signed the new gerrymandered maps into law.

2012

President Barack Obama won Michigan with 54% of the vote and Senator Debbie Stabenow won re-election with 59% of the vote.

Despite these Democratic victories, the new gerrymandered maps helped Republicans gain control of 64% of the congressional delegation and 54% of the state House.

2014

Though Democrat Gary Peters won a U.S. Senate seat with 55% of the vote, the gerrymandered maps gave Republicans 71% of the state Senate.

2017

The League of Women Voters of Michigan filed a federal lawsuit alleging the 2011 congressional and state legislative maps are unconstitutional partisan gerrymanders that discriminate against Democratic voters in order to advantage Republicans. The case is pending.

2018

With the support of the NDRC, Democrat Gretchen Whitmer won the governor’s race by a 9-point margin with 53% of the vote.

Michigan voters also passed Proposal 2, a redistricting reform measure that will bring fair state legislative and congressional districts to the state, with a huge margin (70%). Democrats also flipped five seats in the Michigan state Senate and five seats in the Michigan state House.

1 Know the Decision Makers

A 13-member independent redistricting commission (four Democrats, four Republicans, five to be independents or members of third parties) draw the congressional and state legislative maps. Seven members must approve, including a minimum of two Democrats, two Republicans, and two members not affiliated with the major parties. Commissioners must prioritize specific criteria, including compliance with federal laws; equal population sizes; geographic contiguousness; demographics and communities of similar historical, cultural, or economic interests; no advantages to political parties; no advantages to incumbents; municipal boundaries; and compactness.

2 Know Your State Legislature

Projected state legislature make up starting in 2019.

Michigan Lower Chamber
52

Democratic-held
seats

58

Republican-held
seats

1 Vacant seats

Michigan Upper Chamber
16

Democratic-held
seats

22

Republican-held
seats

1 Vacant seats

Court Cases Impacting Michigan

Currently, there are two active court cases in Michigan. The League of Women Voters of Michigan and individual voters are suing Michigan’s Secretary of State, Ruth Johnson, challenging the state’s legislative and congressional maps as partisan gerrymanders. A trial is scheduled to begin early next year. Additionally, a Republican-backed group has sued to stop a citizen-led ballot measure that would reform Michigan’s redistricting process and take it out of the hands of politicians.

League of Women Voters of Michigan v. Johnson

Read the League of Women Voters of Michigan v. Johnson complaint.

Citizens Protecting Michigan Constitution v. Secretary of State

Read the opinion from the state appellate court, denying the request to reject the citizen petition.

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