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COA Hears Cass Apportionment Arguments

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"My Trusty Gavel" by flickr user steakpinball - https://www.flickr.com/photos/60588258@N00/3293465641
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The Michigan Court of Appeals heard arguments Wednesday in a lawsuit alleging partisan gerrymandering in Cass County.

Cassopolis resident Jim Pedersen is suing the board in charge of redrawing districts for the Cass County Commission.

The board’s new map splits the city of Dowagiac in half, which Pedersen’s attorney argued will illegally dilute the Democratic vote.

“The voting-age population of the city of Dowagiac is 29 percent minority. The city, if undivided, is the only competitive area between Republicans and Democrats in the entire county.”

Attorneys for the apportionment board argued that the board didn’t consider partisan data when drawing the districts, and that splitting Dowagiac was necessary to keep the districts compact.

“Splits have to be made somewhere. They came to the decision that it was best to make splits along existing boundary lines, whether that was a school district, which was one consideration. Precinct districts, that’s another consideration.”

It’s unclear when the court will make a ruling, but petitions for the August primary are due April 19th.