With the midterm election season brewing, states across the country are getting prepared, many with new voting laws and newly drawn voting districts. In Michigan –– a state central to the 2020 General Election –– plans to redraw district lines prompted Black residents to speak up on the matter.
Every 10 years in America, the nation does a federally-sponsored headcount through the Census. After its completion, states are permitted to submit plans to redraw voting districts based on the fresh data on citizens from the Census.
Michigan started this redrawing process, but Black residents have called out the independently-run redistricting commission for its plans to split the predominantly Black cities with neighboring, mostly white suburbs.
“Being a Democrat and being Black sometimes is two separate things,” Michigan state Rep. Tyrone Carter –– who represents Detroit–– told the Detroit Free Press, opposing the commission’s plans.
Carter, like many activists and lawmakers, worry that the redrawn districts will make it harder for Black candidates to win elections and lead to a lack of representation both in the state legislature and in DC.
‘The Largest City in the State, The Blackest City in the Country’
According to the Detroit Free Press, the Commission heard Black community members’ outcry earlier this month and will soon make a decision on if it will consider their voices, and echoes from other communities including Flint.
“Detroit is the largest city in the state, it’s the Blackest city in the country, and the districts that are drawn do not represent that and do not promote Black power or Black issues,” Michigan state Sen. Adam Hollier of Detroit said during a rally organized before the commission’s public hearing on the matter.
How the 2020 Census Plays a Role
News of the redistricting concerns comes after early analyses indicate nearly 2 million Black Americans may have been left out of the 2020 Census and in the wake of several controversial election restriction laws passed and proposed in dozens of states around the country.
For this reason, organizers have been working to bring awareness to policy changes that may impact Black voters at the polls next week on Election Day and in the upcoming midterm election season.
Michigan’s Commission is set to deliberate the community input before proposing new maps on November 5 to be adopted on December 30.