Court Upholds Michigan’s Right to Move Forward with Independent Redistricting Commission


CINCINNATI, OH – Today, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 6th Circuit unanimously upheld a lower court decision to deny an attempt by the Michigan Republican Party and special interests to undermine Michigan’s voter-initiated Independent Citizens Redistricting Commission by delaying its implementation. Campaign Legal Center (CLC) is representing Voters Not Politicians in the case to protect the commission, and CLC’s Paul Smith gave oral arguments before the appeals court on March 17.

“The decision today affirms the fact that, as U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice Roberts said, voters ‘have the power to decide for themselves how they want their government to be structured,’” said Nancy Wang, executive director of Voter Not Politicians. “Over 4,000 applications to serve on Michigan’s first Independent Citizens Redistricting Commission have been processed, and we will continue to do all that we can to get as many people involved in our fair, impartial, and transparent redistricting process as possible.”

“We are pleased with the decision today, which places the interests of Michigan voters first,” said Paul Smith, vice president of Campaign Legal Center (CLC). “Taking partisanship out of drawing electoral maps is critical to advancing the principle of accountability in government. Michigan voters want fair maps. They will not be silenced by special interests, who continue to try and exert their will over the redistricting process. Now Michiganders can continue applying to serve on the commission with the confidence that two courts and four judges have given it the green light.”

The lawsuits were brought by a group of Republican activists led by Tony Daunt, who led the opposition campaign last year, and the Michigan Republican Party, which a U.S. District Court found had gerrymandered the state’s district maps to historical proportions during the most recent redistricting cycle to give themselves “a strong, systematic, and durable structural advantage in Michigan's elections.” 

Applications to serve on Michigan’s first Independent Citizens Redistricting Commission will be open through June 1, 2020. So far, the Secretary of State’s office has processed 4,332 applications from nearly every county in the state.