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Top 10 Most Gerrymandered Districts In Michigan

July 22, 2016

The congressional and legislative districts drawn in 2011 by Republican lawmakers were never successfully challenged in court and must be assumed as legal until they are.

That doesn’t mean there aren’t some funny-looking districts created with political intentions in mind. MIRS flagged 10 of the most clear examples of gerrymandering. 

1. 14th Congressional District – Often referred to nationally as the state’s most ridiculous-looking congressional district, this Detroit-based seat snakes around Oakland County with cherry-picked urban communities like Southfield and Pontiac. 

The district was created to preserve Michigan’s two “majority-minority” districts, a federal requirement to avoid legal challenges. The precipitous loss of population in Detroit and the odd shapes of political boundaries in Southeast Michigan suburbs play a role in why this district looks so odd, but it’s hard to argue against the point that this district could have been made much more compact. 

2. 4th state Senate District – The old Sen. Virgil Smith, Jr. seat again tries to preserve the tradition of having five Detroit-based state Senate seats even though the city’s population really can’t support it. The result is a corkscrew-shaped abomination that ties Detroit’s northern boundary with Southgate and a few other Downriver communities. 

3. 76th state House District – Republican lawmakers’ desire to make at least one politically competitive seat out of the city of Grand Rapids has created a non-defendable squiggly line within Michigan’s second largest city. 

4. 14th state Senate District – It was so important to make this Genesee-Oakland County a marginally Republican district, the city of Waterford was added through the use of a sliver of land so small staffers were actually sent to the site to make sure it existed. 

5. 5th Congressional District – No Democrat has to worry about losing this district, which is more a collection of northern Michigan’s most Democratic counties wrapped around the Lake Huron coast than an example of a collection of communities with common interests. 

6. 94th state House District – Take a horseshoe. Put it facedown on a map of Saginaw County over the city of Saginaw. Trace the horseshoe. Congratulations, you’ve drawn the 94th and a district with a 55 percent GOP base number. 

7. 32nd state House District – Apparently the best map drawers could do with St. Clair County was draw a cross-shaped district smack dab in the middle of the county, and then create the 81st around it. However, the end result was two districts with Republican base numbers of around 55 percent. 

8. 11th state House District – Made up of bits and pieces of six different cities, this inner-ring Wayne County district may just be the product of stringing together what was left over, as opposed to deliberately trying to create something special. Regardless, it doesn’t appear to meet any “common interest standard.” 

9. 24th state House District – Harrison Township is conjoined with select areas of Macomb Township and Clinton Township to create a 53.5 percent GOP base-district that visually resembles a saddle. Or is that a mallard duck with its beak facing down? Or . . . what is that? 

10. 6th state House District – It’s not necessarily any goofier looking than any other Detroit district, but it represents how the district was made. Like in the Senate, Republicans gave Detroit Dems a choice. Vote for the Republican-drawn map for the rest of the state and you can carve up Detroit as you wish. Vote no on the Republican-drawn map and we’ll carve up Detroit for you, which means pitting several incumbents against each other.

The Detroit senators took the deal. The Detroit House members did not. Several incumbent vs. incumbent primaries ensued.

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