Music and NPR News for Central and Northern Michigan
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
Available On Air Stations

Multiple measures show clear indication of gerrymandering in Michigan

Becky McCray

A nonpartisan group says three separate tests all indicate Michigan voting districts overwhelmingly favor Republicans.

In 2014 and 2016 Democrats and Republicans both picked up roughly half of state votes. But Republicans hold a strong majority in both the House and Senate.

Jordon Newton, with Citizens Research Council of Michigan, which conducted the study said one of the tests, the efficiency gap, calculates the number of wasted votes in a district.

“The efficiency gap kind of showed that there were consistently biased maps in Michigan. That across the board between congressional, state house, and state senate races Republicans were seeing a bit of an advantage.”

The study showed that in the state Senate, Democrats had a wasted vote margin of 22%. An 8% margin is considered a clear sign of gerrymandering.  Newton said the group also looked at how political populations are distributed across the state.

“Democrats tend to live in Detroit and Republicans tend to live more spread out across the state. That does mitigate some of the effects when you look at the geographical way that people live but it still shows a decently sized advantage based on Michigan’s current maps.”

Newton said it was important to supply unbiased data using multiple tests.

“They kind of all paint the same picture so it’s important to know that it’s not just one metric that’s saying this when all three of them are saying the same thing it paints a clearer idea of what’s going on.”

Newton said the political imbalance in Michigan began in the early 2000’s and then spiked after new district lines were drawn in 2010.

You can find a link to the study here: