Voters in Michigan were given bad news this June when the United States Supreme Court’s found in Rucho v. Common Cause that it isn’t the role of the judiciary to prevent extreme partisan gerrymandering. Federal judges in Michigan already struck down the Michigan map as unconstitutional, but now Michigan voters will be forced to vote under unfair, undemocratic maps in 2020 that were gerrymandered to give Republicans an advantage. Michigan Democratic House Leader Christine Greig, a member of Let America Vote’s Board of Advisors, described the gerrymandering decision as a “crushing loss” for democracy. The only silver lining for Michiganders is that there should be an independent redistricting commission for the 2021 redistricting. Yet, the Michigan GOP is already trying to hobble the independent redistricting and has filed two lawsuits attempting to end the commission.

In 2018, Michiganders voted by an overwhelming to pass the Promote the Vote initiative, approving a constitutional amendment to expand voting rights in the state. Voters passed a ballot initiative that enshrines automatic voter registration, same day registration, no-excuse absentee voting, and straight-ticket voting in the state constitution. This was an amazing step for voting rights. Spoiler alert: Republicans didn’t like it! Michigan Republicans attempted to strip away the voting rights enshrined in the new law before it even went into effect. Fortunately, the GOP’s attempts to reject the will of the voters failed, and Promote the Vote went into effect this year.

Furthermore, in response to Michigan voters approving of strengthening voting rights in Michigan, GOP legislators stripped Michigan citizens’ ability to pass measures by ballot initiative during their lameduck session. Michigan Republicans have made it nearly impossible to initiative petition drives. In response to Republicans taking democratic powers away from Michiganders, a lawsuit challenging the GOP’s action has been initiated.

In some good news, Michigan settled a lawsuit brought by college voters who contended that voting Michigan procedures deliberately confused young voters to make it harder for them to register and vote. Michigan agreed to promote college-age voter participation. Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson also found that a Michigan law that required first time voters to vote in person to be unenforceable in settling the lawsuit. This is good news for voter engagement.