Nick Krieger (@nckrieger):
Last night, on my way home from work, I drove by the house in the 18600 block of Wexford Street where State Senator Virgil Smith, Jr. is alleged to have shot at his girlfriend's car. Then I checked it out on a map!
I'm usually on top of the current legislative district lines. But I admit that I wasn't exactly sure about the present boundaries of the 4th State Senate district.
It turns out that the home where Senator Smith did the alleged shooting is located in a small, strangely shaped part of the 4th district that juts south of Seven Mile Road between Ryan and Gallagher, much like a misplaced appendage. The strangely shaped area contains only about 15 city blocks. It is circled on the attached district map.
Irrespective of whether Senator Smith is registered to vote at this Wexford Street address or at a different address that he has on file with the Secretary of State, this oddly shaped, cut-out area of the 4th district is no mere coincidence of geography. The district was obviously drawn this way for a specific purpose. What was that purpose? I'll leave that for you to decide.
When our state legislators gerrymander district boundaries as a special favor for incumbent lawmakers, they prove that their primary objective is to stay in office by discouraging competitive elections. This appears to be a classic example. It is yet another reason why we need redistricting reform in Michigan.