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Federal Court Sides With Michigan Democrats In Gerrymandering Lawsuit

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A federal judge says Michigan has to hold a special election in 2020 for certain state Senate districts.  And the Legislature and governor have to come up with new political lines for the US House, state Senate, and state House districts by August.

A federal panel of judges says the district lines were originally drawn in favor of Republicans.

The court opinion says, “This court joins the growing chorus of federal courts that have, in recent years, held that partisan gerrymandering is unconstitutional.”

The League of Women Voters of Michigan sued the state.  They said Republicans had drawn political district lines to disadvantage Democrats.  The court agreed.  It said 27 of 34 challenged districts diluted the weight of people’s votes.  And that every challenged district is unconstitutional.

The court says the Legislature has to come up with new lines for those districts.  And if the Republican-led Legislature and Democratic governor can’t come to a fair consensus – then the court will draw new maps itself.

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—Cheyna Roth is a reporter for the Michigan Public Radio network.  Contact WEMU News at 734.487.3363 or email us at studio@wemu.org

Before becoming the newest Capitol reporter for the Michigan Public Radio Network, Cheyna Roth was an attorney. She spent her days fighting it out in court as an assistant prosecuting attorney for Ionia County. Eventually, Cheyna took her investigative and interview skills and moved on to journalism. She got her masters at Michigan State University and was a documentary filmmaker, podcaster, and freelance writer before finding her home with NPR. Very soon after joining MPRN, Cheyna started covering the 2016 presidential election, chasing after Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton, and all their surrogates as they duked it out for Michigan. Cheyna also focuses on the Legislature and criminal justice issues for MPRN. Cheyna is obsessively curious, a passionate storyteller, and an occasional backpacker. Follow her on Twitter at @Cheyna_R
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