February, 2011: A 25-page research report for the Center for Michigan.
In the past decade, voters decided 664 races for seats in the Michigan Legislature. The majority of those races were never in question. Millions of votes didn’t really matter. Districts for many state representatives and senators are not competitive. Many seats are engineered for partisan advantage.
A consequence is the practical disenfranchisement of many voters. As a result, average voters face an uncomfortable question: are our elections truly representative? If voters want true competition and choice at the ballot box, they can’t wait until Election Day.
Their time for input is now, when the maps are being drawn. Every 10 years, new Census data is used to draw the district boundaries for state and federal elected officials. In Michigan, the state legislature drives this process.
To inform the 2011 Michigan redistricting process that is just getting underway, the Center for Michigan used state elections data to analyze the results of 664 state legislative races since boundaries were last redrawn in 2001.