WASHINGTON, D.C. — Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson (D) has filed a suit requesting that the Michigan Supreme Court delay the deadline for completing new district maps in the state. The extension request comes thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic, which severely delayed the U.S. Census Bureau’s collection and release of decennial census data. Joining Benson in the suit is the Michigan Independent Citizens Redistricting Commission, a group of 13 citizens of the state that will control the redistricting process. The commission was set up after a 2018 constitutional amendment passed that created this new independent group of voters, not politicians, to oversee redistricting and help reduce partisan gerrymandering in the state.
In the complaint, Benson requests relief from the court that would grant her and the commission 72 days from receiving the new census data to come up with new, fair maps, plus another 45 days to open the maps to public comment. This would set the final vote on the maps in the state Legislature for Jan. 25, 2022, rather than Nov. 1, 2021, as is currently required.