Democratic Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson is working to settle a federal lawsuit against the state alleging partisan gerrymandering by Republican lawmakers who approved legislative and congressional district boundaries in 2011.
Benson, who took office Jan. 1, this week replaced former GOP Secretary of State Ruth Johnson as a named defendant in the case. A deal with plaintiffs who sued the state over current maps could result in new district boundaries being drawn for the 2020 election cycle.
“It’s clear the court has found significant evidence of partisan gerrymandering, and the likely outcome would not be favorable to the state,” Benson said in a statement. “It is therefore my responsibility to ensure a fair and equitable resolution for the citizens of Michigan that would save taxpayers money and ensure fair representation.”…
Attorneys for the plaintiffs, including the League of Women Voters and Democrats such as U.S. Rep. Rashida Tlaib of Detroit, filed a court brief late Thursday indicating they and Benson have “committed to reach a compromise” in the case and “in the near future” will present that deal to the court for potential approval.
Republican lawmakers recently joined the case, citing “uncertainty” over whether Benson would defend maps the GOP approved. It’s likely those lawmakers will ask the three-judge panel to reject any settlement deal.