Michigan won’t have to redraw its gerrymandered maps
Michigan won't have to redraw its gerrymandered congressional and state district maps, as a federal court had required in an April ruling.
The Supreme Court on Monday overturned the ruling in a one-sentence order, which was expected in light of the justice's 5-4 decision in June that prohibited federal courts from hearing cases challenging legislative boundaries on the grounds they were drawn to favor one political party over another, a practice known as partisan gerrymandering.
In Michigan's case, the Republicans had drawn the districts to cement their hold on the state and congressional districts.
Earlier this month, the court threw out a similar lower court ruling related to Ohio's map, which was ordered to be redrawn after the court found the Republican-drawn map was designed to dilute Democratic votes.
The June ruling by the high court was in cases involving a Republican gerrymander of North Carolina and a Democratic drawing of lines in Maryland.
Since that ruling, some activists have started looking to the state courts for relief from gerrymandering under the constitutions of those states, while others have turned to the state legislatures. The voters in Michigan decided in a referendum last year to take redistricting power away from the Legislature and give it to a new citizen commission.
More voters see "corruption in our political system" as the country's most pressing problem than any of the other issues getting greater attention in the 2020 campaign, new polling shows.
The online survey conducted in September asked voters whether seven different issues were an "extremely serious problem" for the country, and the only one where a majority said yes was political corruption; rising health care costs came in second at 49 percent.
The poll is only the latest to declare the electorate's dire concern about the broken political system. In just the last month, two-thirds of voters told one poll they believe the country is on the "edge of a civil war" and a plurality in another poll identified the government itself as the country's biggest problem.
But the topic of democracy reform is getting hardly any mention in the presidential race. Though most of the Democratic candidates have plans for limiting money in politics, making voting easier, securing elections and restoring the balance of powers, few have emphasized these ideas on the trail. And President Trump, who four years ago ran as the candidate most interested in "draining the swamp," rarely mentions this aspiration anymore.
A Democratic advocacy group has filed a third lawsuit in less than a month challenging Michigan laws and policies it says restrict voting rights.
The focus on Michigan voting laws by the super PAC Priorities USA reflects the importance of the state's 16 electoral votes in the 2020 presidential election. President Trump won Michigan, a swing state, by less than half a percentage point in 2016.
The latest lawsuit, filed Friday in state court, challenges actions taken after a successful 2018 ballot initiative expanded voting options, such as allowing people to register to vote at any time (including on Election Day). It also automatically registered people to vote when they obtained or renewed their driver's licenses.