Benson files lawsuit to delay redistricting deadline

Posted at 8:39 AM, Apr 21, 2021
and last updated 2021-04-21 08:39:15-04

LANSING, Mich. — Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson has filed a lawsuit with the state Supreme Court to ensure the public can provide feedback on the new voting district maps that will be drawn by the Michigan Independent Citizens Redistricting Commission.

The suit was filed jointly with the organization and seeks a new deadline for finalization of the maps due to the delay in provision of census data from the federal government, according to a news release Wednesday.

RELATED: Michigan redistricting panel will seek delay to finish maps

“Our state constitution guarantees the people of Michigan 45 days to review and provide comment on the maps created by the independent commission, and this time must be granted them despite the delay by the U.S. Census Bureau,” Benson said. “We launched this historic commission in a manner that was citizen-led and transparent and voters across the state and across the political spectrum expect it to continue to operate this way.”

The suit says the current constitutional deadline is untenable because it requires the commission to make maps available for 45 days of public comment beginning Sept. 17, even though the U.S. Census Bureaus won’t have official data until Sept. 30.

Therefore, Benson and the commission want to move the deadline for the commission to propose new legislative districts to Dec. 11, and for the final maps to be approved on Jan. 25, 2022.

“This timeline would also ensure the Bureau of Elections has sufficient time to update the voter registration database in accordance with the new district lines and that local clerks can create and provide every voter with their correct ballot,” the news release said.

Read the full lawsuit here.

SEE MORE: Nonprofit coalition will work to get underrepresented communities involved in MI redistricting