State panel begins redrawing voting lines

Just-released census data shows shifting populations and one less Congressional district for Michigan.

At long last, Michigan’s first-of-its-kind Independent Citizens Redistricting Commission can get down to work.

The U.S. Census Bureau on Thursday released a local-level tally from last year’s decennial census, and the news isn’t great for Michigan. The state’s population grew by just 2% – the slowest in the nation. That will result in one fewer seat in Congress.

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And changes to populations in Detroit, West Michigan, and the Upper Peninsula will mean a whole lot of shuffling of state electoral districts.

According to the count, Detroit lost 10.5% of its population. That could spell trouble for Democrats on the east side of the state.

The starkest change came in the U.P., where 14 of 15 counties lost population. That includes five of Michigan’s fastest-shrinking counties.

West Michigan saw a boost in population over the last ten years. Kalamazoo County as a whole grew by 4.5%, though most of that growth came outside of the city center. In fact, the City of Kalamazoo actually lost about 1% of its population.

Census results were delayed this year due to COVID-19 and interference by the Trump administration. That means the state’s new redistricting commission has to hit the ground running. It has already been hard at work hearing from citizens about how it should go about carving up Michigan’s electoral districts.

The board is supposed to finish its work by November 1, but the delays may push that to the end of the year.

[Bridge Michigan, MLive]

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