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Race in America

American Culture 399


Michigan targeted by federal lawsuit: Groups:
Electoral districts unlawfully gerrymandered


The Michigan League of Women Voters and a group of Democrats filed a lawsuit Friday in federal court in Detroit, alleging Michigan's congressional and state electoral districts are unlawfully gerrymandered.

The lawsuit against Michigan's chief election official — Secretary of State Ruth Johnson — is the latest effort in Michigan and around the country to try to undo the drawing of election maps in ways proponents say have disenfranchised voters and unfairly disadvantaged Democrats to the advantage of Republicans.


 The Detroit Free Press published its first edition before Michigan entered statehood and when wild animals outnumbered the people living in the city. Its editor assigned a writer to walk the waterfront and record the shipping news each day, creating the first news “beat.” The Free Press also was the first U.S. newspaper to print a regular Sunday edition and the first to publish court testimony. It sent reporters to Civil War battlefields to describe the action, set up a Washington bureau to report on politics, and was the first American newspaper published in Europe when it began a London edition in 1881.

The League of Women Voters supports an Independent Commission as a solution to the problems with Michigan's current redistricting process. LWVMI is aware that other groups are thinking about a ballot proposal campaign. At this time, the League has not endorsed a ballot proposal or joined a coalition to do so. The LWVMI Board will evaluate the possibility of joining a ballot campaign based on the proposal and the probability of the campaign's success.

Michigan's political districts are redrawn every decade following receipt of the new Census data This process typically takes place behind closed doors, with districts designed to benefit the political party in power at the time.


PolicyMap is a US-National web-based Geographic Information System used to understand communities.  With easy-to-use menus, PolicyMap is a “GIS tool for non-GIS experts” for those who need to visualize large amounts of data quickly and easily, often down to the census tract or block group level.  It is used in the social sciences, urban studies and regional planning, real estate and housing analysis,  community and economic development, public administration and policy, public health, political science, education, environmental studies, business and finance, economics, statistics and geography, among other areas.

Included in the tool is access to PolicyMap’s extensive data collection, with 15,000+ indicators used to understand communities, organized into general categories including demographics, income and spending, housing, lending activity, quality of life, economy, education, health, federal guidelines, and other analysis. In addition, students and faculty can easily upload and incorporate their data into and leverage it against the thousands of indicators already available in PolicyMap.

Congressional district atlas

Visit the Clark Map Library and Librarian Catherine Morse