New distribution maps would wipe out all majority-black districts in Michigan, Senator Hollier said

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Lansing State Capitol Building in Michigan under cover of darkness.  - MCKEEDIGITAL, SHUTTERSTOCK

  • McKeeDigital, Shutterstock
  • Lansing State Capitol Building in Michigan under cover of darkness.

Michigan would lose all 17 majority-black legislative districts under new maps drawn up by the state’s district panel, according to Senator Adam Hollier, D-Detroit.

The Michigan Independent Citizens Redistricting Commission, which includes four Democrats, four Republicans and five independents, presented the newly drawn maps for the state’s Senate and House districts Monday. The commission was tasked with reorienting the borders after Republicans created heavily gerrymandered districts after the 2010 census.

Below the current boundaries, there are 17 districts that are predominantly black. But the new proposed borders would wipe them all out and dilute the representation of Detroit, the state’s largest city, Hollier said.

“They drew districts that are not signs of black communities and Detroit,” Hollier said in a statement. “They dragged the city of Detroit into districts that the Detroiters will not win, and black people will not win because a majority of the electorate is in the suburbs, especially in primary elections where democratic races are decided.”

When redrawing the districts, commissioners are required to comply with the federal law on the right to vote, which requires equal opportunities for minority voters to elect representatives of their choice. Hollier argued that Michigan voters tend to vote for people in their own race, so fewer black lawmakers would be elected below the new boundaries.

Hollier calls on the Commission to start over and preserve the districts with a black majority. He plans to hold a press conference in Detroit at 1 p.m. Tuesday.

The Commission plans to hold public hearings on the new maps on 11-12. October.

“Commissioners have been very responsive to communities that have testified,” Hollier said. “I think the commissioners will draw good cards, they just need Detroiters to attend.”

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