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Detroit redistricting map drafts move on to next stage

The ‘Spirit of Detroit’ draft map is one of 14 Michigan’s redistricting commission is sending to its attorneys for analysis on whether their plans comply with the Voting Rights Act. (Screenshot)
  • Fourteen draft maps for Detroit-area House districts will be reviewed for Voting Rights Act compliance
  • Much could still change, as commissioners have until Feb. 2 to post a final draft
  • Federal court wants a new state House map in place by spring in time for 2024 elections

Michigan’s political mapmakers are advancing to the next stage of a court-ordered redraw of seven metro Detroit state House districts.

This week, members of the Michigan Citizens Independent Redistricting Commission agreed to send 14 different configurations of Detroit-area legislative districts to their attorneys for further review on whether their efforts comply with the federal Voting Rights Act.


The map drafts are the culmination of weeks of marathon mapping sessions and reflect ongoing divisions among commissioners at odds over how best to meet the court’s demands.


Up to this point, commissioners have been relying solely on population, geographic and political data to draw the maps, avoiding racial data entirely.

The ‘Trillium’ maps, based on a proposal from Michigan State University, aimed to limit changes as much as possible to districts deemed improper by the courts. (Screenshot)

Perhaps the biggest question pending before the group — and the source of the biggest discrepancies between the drafts under consideration — is how much to involve districts that weren’t reviewed by the court. 

During the mapping process, some commissioners have favored limiting the changes as much as possible to the seven districts deemed unconstitutional. Others are seeking more substantial changes to the entire metro region, citing the need for a new strategy to meet Detroiters’ needs. 

A handful of the proposals advancing were inspired by outside organizations. Maps inspired by submissions from Michigan State University’s Institute for Public Policy and Social Research made the cut for further review, as did a pitch from the Promote the Vote coalition. 

All 14 drafts, which can be viewed on the commission’s website, would mark a significant shift from metro Detroit’s current state House districts, several of which were thrown out by a federal three-judge panel that found commissioners improperly used racial data when drawing the city’s legislative boundaries. 

But much could still change before a final map is approved. Commissioners have until Feb. 2 to produce an official draft House map, and the court’s timeline gives the public until Feb. 23 to weigh in.


The group must agree to a final map by March 1, and following review by plaintiffs and court-appointed experts, the court will approve a new slate of metro Detroit House districts by March 29.

An appeal of the standing court order requiring a map redraw is pending before the U.S. Supreme Court, although the high court denied separate requests by the commission and Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson to pause the proceedings.

Barring Supreme Court intervention, metro Detroiters will have new state House maps in time for the 2024 election cycle.

The court, commission and Detroit-area voters involved in the case will reconvene on April 12 to hash out a plan for the six state Senate districts included in the case, which are next up for election in 2026.

Affected districts

A three-judge panel in December deemed the following state political districts unconstitutional and ordered them redrawn. Reconfiguring the districts could affect adjoining ones as well, causing other changes. Here are the ones at issue:

  • House District 1, represented by Rep. Tyrone Carter, D-Detroit
  • House District 7, represented by Rep. Helena Scott, D-Detroit
  • House District 8, represented by Rep. Mike McFall, D-Hazel Park
  • House District 10, represented by House Speaker Joe Tate, D-Detroit
  • House District 11, represented by Rep. Veronica Paiz, D-Harper Woods
  • House District 12, represented by Rep. Kimberly Edwards, D-Eastpointe
  • House District 14, represented by Rep. Donavan McKinney, D-Detroit
  • Senate District 1, represented by Sen. Erika Geiss, D-Taylor
  • Senate District 3, represented by Sen. Stephanie Chang, D-Detroit
  • Senate District 6, represented by Sen. Mary Cavanagh, D-Redford Township
  • Senate District 8, represented by Sen. Mallory McMorrow, D-Royal Oak
  • Senate District 10, represented by Sen. Paul Wojno, D-Warren
  • Senate District 11, represented by Sen. Veronica Klinefelt, D-Eastpointe

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