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Michigan Supreme Court Denies Deadline Extension For Redrawing Political Maps

Reginald Hardwick
The Michigan Supreme Court building.

The Michigan Supreme Court has declined to give a newly created commission more time to redraw the state’s political maps.

The Michigan Independent Citizens Redistricting Commission and the Michigan Secretary of State filed a lawsuit in April asking for an extension since the coronavirus pandemic delayed the release of population data from the U.S. Census Bureau.

The commission argued it would be vulnerable to lawsuits if it missed the deadline to draw congressional and statewide legislative maps because of circumstances beyond its control. Those lawsuits would erode public confidence and distract the commission from its work, attorneys said.

But Michigan justices said it would be premature for the court to grant an extension before the deadline was missed.

“By our decision today, we have declined the invitation to clothe the commission or the Secretary of State with any lawsuit-proof vest,” Justice Elizabeth Welch wrote in a statement attached to Friday’s ruling.

The 13-member redistricting commission has until Sept. 13 to propose maps. Then, the commission must offer 45 days of public comment before approving the maps Nov. 1.

Michiganders voted in 2018 to establish the new, bipartisan process for drawing legislative districts. 

Sarah Lehr is a politics and civics reporter for WKAR News.
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