Justice

State Senate districts could be more competitive under proposed map

The proposed boundaries still favor the GOP, but could split things more evenly.

After many months of hearings and planning, Michigan’s first ever independent redistricting commission has produced its first map – a proposed layout for the state’s 38 state senate districts.

The new map promises to be more evenly divided between Republicans and Democrats, though the GOP still comes out with a slight advantage.

In the most recent elections, Republicans edged out Democrats 22 to 16. If voting patterns remained similar in 2022, these districts would give Republicans a slimmer majority – 20 to 18. But political experts say this process has resulted in much fairer districts than previous ones.

Before 2018’s ballot initiative resulted in this new method of determining voting districts, the party in power in the legislature drew political lines every ten years to benefit themselves.

The new maps make changes based on Michigan’s changing demographics. Rising population counts in urban areas have resulted in more Democrat-leaning districts. Case in point is Kent and Ottawa counties, which are now split into multiple districts.

Kalamazoo County remains the same under the proposed map, with a single district covering the entire county.

The proposed map still has to undergo a fair amount of scrutiny before it is adopted, probably in late December. Members of the public can weigh in through the commission’s public comment portal. The map also has to be checked that it adheres to the requirements of the Voting Rights Act.

[Bridge Michigan, MLive]