Michigan's districts are heavily gerrymandered. This causes incumbents to keep their seats, even when challengers successfully win the popular vote. Attorney Mark Brewer is preparing to sue state officials over this potentially unconstitutional racial gerrymandering. Meanwhile, Katie Fahey's independent, citizen-led group called Voters Not Politicians is on the case.
Michigan disenfranchised voters by using partisan gerrymandering to draw district lines. This is most evident in Flint and Detroit, where legislators used gerrymandering techniques like packing & cracking. In Flint, packing is used to ensure that as many minorities as possible are packed into one district to weaken their voting power. In Detroit, cracking is used to ensure that minority neighborhoods are cracked into strange shapes to weaken minorities' voting power.
As illustrated by the maps above, gerrymandering divides voters into districts of extreme partisanship. The result is a legislative body that is slow to address the needs of residents of Flint and Detroit. This even contributed to the 2014 Flint water crisis because the State ignored the needs of Flint residents in favor of saving a few dollars by not purchasing the sealant for its lead pipes for drinking water. Now, they are left with $300 billion in damages.
Federal courts often find this kind of racial gerrymandering to be in violation of citizens' constitutional rights. The imbalance of seats vs. votes is worse than over two thirds of the rest of the country, showing how large and real of an impact this voter disenfranchisement has had.