MDCR Director John E. Johnson to MICRC: proposed electoral maps "fail the test" of preserving the voice of Michigan minorities

Contact: Vicki Levengood levengoodv@michigan.gov

Proposed maps violate the Voting Rights Act and strip the rights of minority voters to elect representatives who reflect their community

Lansing, MI- On Wednesday evening, Oct. 20, Michigan Department of Civil Rights Executive Director John E. Johnson, Jr. will speak before the Michigan Independent Citizens Redistricting Commission and address violations of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 contained in the proposed redistricting maps the Commission approved on Oct. 11 of this year.

"This Commission has an historic opportunity, and profound responsibility, to redraw Michigan's electoral boundaries so that we preserve - as the Voting Rights Act says you must - the ability of the minority to have a voice in their government and in deciding who will represent their interests, from the local school board to the halls of Congress.

The maps this body approved on Oct. 11 fail that test. They dilute minority-majority districts and strip the ability for a minority voter to elect legislative representatives who reflect their community and affect any meaningful opportunity to impact public policy and lawmaking.

Make no mistake: the decisions you make and the lines you draw will either protect the rights of minorities or ensure that for a decade to come, some Michigan voters will no longer have a voice in decisions that directly impact their lives. We urge you meet this test of fairness and accountability, and rectify the Voting Rights Act violations inherent in the maps under consideration. Thank you."

Johnson also submitted an analysis of the proposed maps that details the specific ways they violate the Voting Rights Act. That analysis is available here.

The Michigan Civil Rights Commission was created by the Michigan Constitution to safeguard constitutional and legal guarantees against discrimination. The Commission is charged with investigating alleged discrimination against any person because of religion, race, color or national origin, genetic information, sex, age, marital status, height, weight, arrest record, and physical and mental disability. The Michigan Department of Civil Rights serves as the operational arm of the Commission.

# # #