By Evan Kreager
Ingham County Chronicle staff writer
Elections this fall are bringing a change to Ingham County. This November there will be only 14 seats on the ballot for county commissioner, a loss of two districts from the 16 that the county has had for a decade.
According to Commissioner Carol Koenig, the cutback is based on a population decrease in the county.
“Every 10 years, the census tells us if we have lost population, which we have,” Koenig said. The result is two fewer seats on the board.
Each county commissioner runs to represent a district in the county. With the loss of two districts, two commissioner seats must also be cut. The result is a redistricting of the commissioner districts.
For Koenig, whose District Nine has in the past covered the northeast part of East Lansing and part of Meridian Township, this change is a good thing.
“My district shifted to the south covering more of campus, which I like,” Koenig said. “Because this district is overwhelmingly Democratic, it is hard for Republicans to have a significant impact on the general election.”
But for Republican candidates, this redistricting isn’t good news. District Eight Republican candidate Brian Mishler would like to see the county cut back to just 10 districts.
“Citizens will be disenfranchised as a community,” said Mishler. “Citizens within the redistricting are not represented well with the lines currently drawn.”
“The change places more Democrats in my district than the previous election. I just have to work harder to change independent minds.”
One candidate from both the Republican Party and the Democratic Party will be running for each of the commissioner seats for a total of 28 candidates.
The new district lines will go into effect on Jan. 1, 2013.