In December 2021, Michigan lawmakers approved the implementation of a newly drawn map depicting congressional and legislative districts, a move that prompted several Detroit lawmakers to file a lawsuit against the Mighigan redistricting commission. last week on the grounds that the new card hurts and illegally diminishes the vote. power of black Americans by violating the Voting Rights Act.
While some view the map as a victory for partisan fairness, the change has been unpopular among many black Detroit residents, who feel silenced and fear the new change will lead to widespread corruption, consolidation of power and gerrymandering.
Nabih Ayad, an attorney representing Detroit lawmakers and other plaintiffs in the case, told NowThis the new map “takes power away from the African-American community and takes away the right to vote.”
In the new lawsuit, Ayad and other black lawmakers are asking the Supreme Court to block passage of the maps and redraw them.
At a press conference last Monday, Representatives Tenisha Yancey, Tyrone Carter, Helena Scott, Stephanie Young, Mary Cavanagh, Senator Betty Jean Alexander, and former Detroit lawmakers Sherry Gay-Dagnogo and Teola P. Hunter said that the new map could negatively impact the future election of black lawmakers and violates the Voting Rights Act, which requires districts to appropriately represent minority populations. Essentially, the Voting Rights Act serves to prevent minority populations from being dispersed across multiple constituencies, thereby reducing their voting power.
In response to the changes, Ayad encourages young people to take action and “let the people around them, their friends, their families, members of Congress, the State Senate, know that they oppose everything redistricting which dilutes the interest of any minority”.
Outside of Detroit, redistricting is on the rise, especially in majority-black cities. For many BIPOC voters, redistricting means further exclusion from the polls and an attack on democratic rights. For example, in states that no longer require Justice Department preclearance, voters might face easily imposed standards that make it difficult to get to the ballot box.
In 2021 alone, state GOP leaders have introduced myriad restrictions on the voting rights of presidents. Joe Biden and his administration are seeking to resist by passing both the John Lewis Advancing Voting Rights Act and the Free Suffrage Act.
“I support changing the Senate rules, however they need to be changed to prevent a minority of senators from blocking voting rights actions,” the president said. Biden said during his Tuesday speech in Atlanta, Georgia, in which he spoke about the urgency of protecting voting rights.