Michigan redistricting commission memos, recording released


Lawyers for Michigan’s redistricting commission used a controversial closed-door meeting to label legal interpretations of federal voting requirements that urge drawing majority-minority districts inaccurate and misleading, calling on the commission not to adjust lines based on race alone to make final changes to proposed congressional and state legislative districts.

“We have become concerned that there is so much misinformation out there we wanted to have an opportunity to set the record straight in a sense,” Bruce Adelson, the commission’s voting rights lawyer, said during the private meeting of interpretations of the Voting Rights Act presented to the commission. 

The release of the recording of the Oct. 27 closed-door session followed a Michigan Supreme Court decision Monday ordering its disclosure in response to a lawsuit brought by the Detroit Free Press and other media organizations against the commission, demanding greater transparency from the group. 

More:Michigan Supreme Court orders redistricting commission to release voting rights memos

More:Michigan civil rights department sounds alarm on redistricting commission’s maps

As it approached the final round of adjustments to its maps, Adelson warned the commissioners not to make changes based on race alone. “Please don’t use phrases about adding Black people, subtracting Black people, adding white people, subtracting white people,” he said. When such phrases are used, it “gives people the ammunition that they’re looking for” to sue the commission alleging that they drew districts using race as the predominant factor, Adelson said.