Equal voting rights are in jeopardy once again in the United States. This past December, EBONY reported that Black voting rights activist and community leaders were pushing back against President Joe Biden to proactively address the stalling of voting rights protections by Congress. Now, in an effort to prevent redistricting in the state of Michigan, Black lawmakers from across the state are joining forces to block newly drawn congressional and legislative districts. The redrawing of these districts are not only unnecessary but specifically minimize the voting power of Black Americans.
This past Monday, the Independent Citizens Redistricting Commission created finalized House and legislative maps that would go into effect this year and last a duration of ten years. After this decision was announced, multiple lawmakers in Detroit organized a plan to sue as this change would violate the 1965 Voting Rights Act. This act allows minority citizens to vote on the candidate of their choosing on their own.
This is not the first time that Michigan lawmakers have played with the redistricting of maps in the state. With this recent case, the commission drew districts that stretched from Detroit to white suburbs in Michigan. About 1 million African-Americans live in the city of Detroit and in its surrounding three counties, making it one of the most densely populated by Blacks cities in the state. Altering the legislative and House maps would disproportionately impact the voting power of minorities as it splits up communities of color intentionally so that the districts cannot properly represent the interests of minority voters.
Plaintiffs filing the lawsuit in Michigan’s Supreme Court also include members of the Michigan Legislative Black Caucus. Should the lawmakers successfully sue, the Michigan Supreme Court would deem the maps unconstitutional and unethical.