Federal judges to decide if Michigan's congressional and legislative districts were unconstitutionally gerrymandered

Published: Feb. 4, 2019 at 11:10 PM EST
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(02/04/2019) - The lawsuit is set to go to trial at 9 a.m. on Tuesday, the lawsuit is asking the federal court to declare the current districts unconstitutional.

The lawsuit, filed by the League of Women Voters and Democratic voters, challenges the 2011 Michigan congressional and legislative districting plans.

The lawsuit says bills passed by the Republican controlled legislature in 2011 "effectively and severely gerrymandered the State House, Senate, and congressional maps to benefit Republican voters, officeholders, and candidates, and diminish the effect of the votes of Democratic voters throughout the 10-year life of the maps."

House Democratic Leader Christine Greig weighed in :

"They asked the courts to look at this, was there a fair process being used when we drew the lines in 2011?"

"There's about 34 districts," she explained, "all the way from state house to congressional districts, that just don't look right, so we need to dig down into that in these court cases and make sure that every vote truly did count how it should- and that our elections are fair."

Two of the House Districts being challenged are in Saginaw. Greig showed us them on the map:

"95 --kind of was like a square that had a chunk just chopped out of it --and 94 goes around 95," said Grieg. "So the question at hand is what went into those decisions of why we have such odd shapes of these districts."

Michigan Republican Party Spokesman Tony Zammit:

"If these districts were drawn so egregiously, why are democrats picking up seats?"

"The real question is," he noted, "was the law broken, if you look at state and federal law, no laws where broken, these districts comply with state law - and they also comply with the voting rights act."

Zammit said he doesn't think the state can afford to go through two

redestricting processes in a two-year period.

In 2022 the state will go through a voter approved redistricting process with an independent redistricting commission, but up first are 2020 elections.