Battle of Voting Experts in Gerrymandering Trial

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The League of Women Voters of Michigan (“League”), its members, and several Democratic voters brought suit against the Michigan Secretary of State, alleging that the state’s current legislative apportionment plan (the “Enacted Plan”), violated the Plaintiffs’ Fourteenth Amendment equal protection rights and First Amendment free speech by deliberately discriminating against Democratic voters. 

Plaintiffs initially sought to invalidate the entire Enacted Plan, but subsequently narrowed their claims to 34 congressional, House, and Senate districts (the “Challenged Districts”). 

Sixth Circuit Judge Eric L. Clay wrote for a panel in the Eastern District of Michigan. The judge explained that the term “partisan gerrymandering” describes “the drawing of legislative district lines to subordinate adherents of one political party and entrench a rival party in power.”It’s an effort to dictate electoral outcomes by favoring candidates of one party and disfavoring candidates of another. Partisan gerrymandering thus violates the core purpose of legislative apportionment—providing “fair and effective representation for all citizens,” he wrote.”  

The Michigan Constitution says that the state legislature shall redraw Michigan’s congressional and state legislative districts every ten years. This directive ensures that Michigan legislators will have the benefit of the decennial federal census and population data when they redraw the legislative maps. 

Read more at ForensisGroup.