NUMBERS GAME

Even when something is rumored it doesn’t make it easier to hear it when it happens. Final U.S. Census figures aren’t official yet – the COVID-19 pandemic has delayed the tally from December 31 to April 1, 2021 – but we do know that Michigan has lost enough population to be assured of losing a congressional seat, as well as an electoral college vote. The state’s population did grow slightly in the last decade – by one percent – but the average across the country was growth of six percent. So Michigan will go from 14 to 13 representatives in the House, and to 15 electoral college votes from 16. It’s unclear where the seat will come from, and speculation is rife, because it’s no longer in the hands of the party in power to determine redistricting, which would be Republicans who control the state House and Senate. As of 2018, a proposal unanimously passed by voters to have redistricting redone by a citizen-led redistricting commission, which is currently underway, led by Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson. The 13-member bipartisan – or really nonpartisan – commission is tasked with redrawing all of the voting districts for congress, the state senate and state house so that they are equal and contiguous, favoring neither party disproportionately or racially. Final maps will be out November 21, 2021, become law December 31, 2021, and will be used in the 2022 elections.

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