It’s no secret that the Michigan Republican Party wanted to keep our redistricting process happening behind closed doors where they could work with special interests to gerrymander our maps to their advantage. They fought tooth and nail in 2018 against the creation of Michigan’s Independent Citizens Redistricting Commission and a transparent process that would create fair, nonpartisan maps. Thankfully, they failed, but they’re not done trying to give themselves an unfair advantage.
The Commission is constitutionally required to follow seven mapping criteria in ranked order when drawing our new district maps. After equal population and ensuring the districts are geographically contiguous, the third highest criteria they must consider is that districts “reflect the state’s diverse population and communities of interest.”
As defined by Michigan’s constitution, a community of interest “may include, but shall not be limited to, populations that share cultural or historical characteristics or economic interests. Communities of interest do not include relationships with political parties, incumbents, or political candidates.”
But the Livingston County Republican Party seems to have missed that crucial part in an email they sent out on August 22, 2021, attacking maps submitted to the Commission by the AFL-CIO. The AFL-CIO maps, which were submitted for consideration as part of public comment to the Commission, would split Livingston County into three State House seats instead of the two State House seats it is currently divided into.
Livingston Republicans seem to believe this means part of Livingston County will then be represented by Democrats which will leave “a majority of those living in Livingston County being represented in the State house by individuals who do not reflect our goals and values” and encourage readers to contact the Commission about their community of interest.
In doing so, the Livingston County Republican Party has directed their followers to connect a community of interest with a political party, which the Commission is explicitly prohibited from doing.
It’s no surprise the Republican Party is trying to twist the truth and our Constitution, since the current gerrymandered maps give them an unfair advantage. But thanks to Michiganders voting for a transparent process, we can hold the Commission accountable and fight to make sure Republicans don’t interfere with our commissioners drawing the fair, nonpartisan maps we deserve.