|LANSING – Back in the 1910s and 1920s, Michigan was sitting where it’s going after the next election. It had 13 congressional seats. From 1914 to 1930, the map looked the same.|
Detroit essentially had its own district, Oakland anchored its own district, stretching into Genesee and Ingham counties. Macomb anchored its own district with the Thumb region. Ottawa and Kent counties had their own districts.
The Upper Peninsula had two congressional districts, one in Marquette and iron country and a second that joined up with the upper half of the Lower Peninsula.
While interesting to look at, the maps from the era of Gov. Fred Green give limited guidance in how the maps for 2022 could look like due to a couple key factors. Why?
The U.S. Voting Rights Act requires that Michigan must maintain two districts that have a majority of its population coming from a minority group. Scott Bean of Grassroots Midwest said on the MIRS Monday podcast that the Independent Citizens Redistricting Commission would need to ask the President Joe Biden’s U.S. Justice Department if they could get a pass on this requirement.
Bean and colleague Adrian Hemond said such a scenario is extremely unlikely.
“This was put into place to address historical discrimination, frankly against Black voters in Michigan,” Hemond said. “The state of Michigan would have to make the case to the Biden Justice Department that because of the population loss and because this historical discrimination has ‘been addressed’ we need only one now.
“I think a lot of Biden voters would disagree with that argument. Considering the role Black voters played in Joe Biden winning the state of Michigan, I think it’s unlikely that argument would prevail.”
This means two districts would need to stem from Detroit, creating the same funny looking lines we have today. One funny-looking scenario would be an Interstate-75 District that links Southfield, Pontiac and Flint along the freeway.