A pending settlement proposal in a federal lawsuit alleging unfair bias in political district maps will be limited in scope but could still give Democrats a narrow chance to upend Republican majorities in the Michigan Legislature. The suit alleges that maps approved by GOP majority lawmakers in 2011 intentionally diluted the power of Democratic voters. New Democratic Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson and plaintiffs are negotiating “a compromise in which fewer than” 34 of the state’s 162 congressional and legislative districts would be redrawn for 2020 elections, according to a new filing. It’s not clear if proposed changes would have a ripple effect and impact other adjacent districts.
Plaintiff attorney Joseph Yeager disclosed broad outlines of the potential settlement Friday in a sworn deposition challenging Republican claims the deal is being negotiated in ‘secret.” He discussed the settlement with attorneys for GOP lawmakers in two phone calls and an email exchange, he said.
Any proposed settlement would require approval by the three-judge panel overseeing the federal case. Michigan’s Republican-led Legislature would have the first chance to propose new maps, but they would be subject to review by the court, which could reject them and decide an alternative method.