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League of Woman Voters Seek Redistricting Deadline Extension in Michigan

June 13, 2021 by Dan McCue
In this Nov. 6, 2020, photo, the phrase "Count Every Vote" is displayed on a large screen, organized by an advocacy group in front of thesState Capitol while election results in several states had yet to be finalized, in Lansing, Mich. (AP Photo/David Goldman, File)

The League of Women Voters of Michigan filed an amicus brief with the state’s Supreme Court this week in support of the Michigan Independent Citizens Redistricting Commission’s proposed extended timeline for adopting final redistricting plans.

The commission was formed after a 2018 public referendum in which 61% of Michiganders voted in favor of creating a citizen commission and put an end to political gerrymandering in the state.

However, despite the fact the panel has been holding public meetings across the state, it’s very existence wasn’t affirmed until late May, when the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals threw out a legal challenge to the referendum and the process it set in motion.

It turns out, that was the least of the body’s problems. In the wake of the 6th Circuit ruling, the redistricting commission asked the Michigan Supreme Court for a deadline extension due to a delay in obtaining needed Census Bureau data caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Last Wednesday, the League came out in support of the Commission’s proposal of adopting final plans for new congressional and legislative districts by January 25, 2022 instead of the current November 1 deadline.

“Extending the Michigan Independent Citizens Redistricting Commission’s deadline would ensure the Commission has all of the information it needs to draw fair, non-gerrymandered Congressional and legislative maps,” said Christina Schlitt, president of the League of Women Voters of Michigan, in a written statement. “We must allow this important democratic, citizen-led process to work by giving the Commission the time it needs.”

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