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Redistricting Commission chooses final Michigan Senate plan

A draft map shows a set of proposed Michigan House districts from the Michigan Independent Citizens Redistricting Commission.
Michigan Independent Citizen Redistricting Commission
A draft map shows a set of proposed Michigan House districts from the Michigan Independent Citizens Redistricting Commission.

Michigan’s redistricting commission approved a new proposal for metro-Detroit’s state Senate districts Wednesday.

The map re-draws six districts that had been declared unconstitutional. It also redraws many others in the region to accommodate those changes.

Commissioner Juanita Curry said the plan, nicknamed Crane A1, best serves the needs of Detroiters who had sued to invalidate the old plan as a racial gerrymander.

“I talk to people all the time. I ran a church where people spoke in what they wanted. And I know what they want in that area. And so, the Crane seems to represent what we need to be doing,” Curry said.

It took five rounds of open voting and an additional round of ranked choice voting for the 13-member commission to gain consensus.

The Crane A1 map won the most votes in earlier rounds Wednesday. But it did not gain the support of at least two commissioners representing each major political party, as required by the state constitution.

While Curry, a Democrat, supported the Crane A1 map, her three fellow Democrats split support among other proposals.

Commission vice chair Brittni Kellom supported a plan she submitted instead. Kellom argued the Crane A1 plan wasn’t as popular and didn’t perform as well on partisan fairness metrics as other proposals.

“I don’t think that Crane A1 is the best representation for what Detroit citizens and beyond have expressed,” Kellom said.

Partisan fairness scores for the new plan based on past voting data suggest Democrats could hold a 21-17 seat advantage in the state Senate.

Numbers from the commission predict Democratic candidates could see an average winning margin of around 63.6%, while Republicans may win their races with 58.5% of the vote. That puts Republicans at around a 5.1% advantage when it comes to not having wasted votes in red-leaning districts.

The map would also draw certain incumbents in together, like Senators Paul Wojno (D-Warren) and Veronica Klinefelt (D-Eastpointe), for example.

It now goes to federal court for review by the plaintiffs in the case and a court-appointed expert.

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Colin Jackson is the Capitol reporter for the Michigan Public Radio Network.
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