Secretary Of State Reaches Proposed Settlement Agreement In Gerrymandering Lawsuit

Jan 25, 2019

Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson and the League of Women Voters have reached a proposed settlement agreement in a gerrymandering lawsuit that alleged the state allowed Republicans to redraw the maps for legislative districts in their favor

Benson said she made the decision to offer a settlement to the League because she thought the state would lose the case if it went to trial. And, she said she thinks this outcome is the most fair and will cost taxpayers the least amount of money.

“To me it strikes an important balance between limiting disruption to the current maps and representation while also acknowledging the harm done to voters through past attempts to rig the outcomes of elections through partisan gerrymandering,” said Benson.

The Michigan Republican party disagrees. They issued a statement Friday afternoon calling the settlement a partisan power grab by Democrats seeking to gain more seats in the State House in the 2020 elections.

Tony Zammit, a spokesman for the Republican party said the settlement is premature and the state should wait until it has census data for regularly scheduled apportionment.

“By jumping the gun and trying to get this done a year early in order for the Democrats to get more numbers out of the State House. I think it’s a partisan power grab that is very irresponsible,” said Zammit.

But, Benson says this wasn’t a partisan decision. “I felt also we risked going to trial. Not just wasting money. Not just losing. Not just being in a position where we’re defending something that we feel is indefensible, but also reaching an imposed agreement that would cause much more upheaval for our state and for out voters.”

If the court agrees to the settlement proposed by the Secretary, claims against the Michigan Senate and U.S. Congressional districts will be dropped and 11 State House districts will be redrawn.

Friday evening the Detroit News reported that GOP lawmakers requested that the U.S. Supreme Court delay the proposed settlement between Benson and the League of Women Voters, asking for a stay.

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