Maps were supposed to be completed by Friday by Michigan’s new independent citizen redistricting commission. Supporters say Census delays made that impossible, but critics contend the panel is rife with dysfunction.
Michigan’s population is flat, but districts that are heavily Democratic tended to lose more residents than Republican areas, according to a Bridge Michigan analysis. Rep. Dan Kildee’s district lost the most.
The authors argue that hiring Washington, D.C. law firm BakerHostetler as litigation consultant would subvert the nonpartisan mission of the commission as it redraws the state’s unfairly gerrymandered political maps.
The Michigan Independent Citizens Redistricting Commission sought to extend a Sept. 17 deadline for redrawing political maps, noting that new U.S. Census population figures would not even be available to it until the end of September.
The author spent seven weeks canvassing neighborhoods in Detroit and Redford Township. Some residents were happy to answer the census in person. Others were less thrilled to see a man from the government at their door. Mistrust seemed to cross demographic lines.
Detroit had marshaled huge resources to boost census participation. Then came COVID-19. Now, as cases decline, the city is trying to play catchup because millions of dollars are at stake from an accurate count.