By Evan Kreager
Ingham County Chronicle staff writer
Lansing, Mich—At 7 a.m. Nov. 6, polling locations across the country opened to voters. Some of us have participated in countless presidential elections. Others are voting for the very first time. In an area like Ingham County that is home to one of the largest universities in the county, the latter of the two groups of voters is exceptionally large.
But for this group of nearly 13 percent of registered voters, deciding how to vote for president is a challenge in itself, let alone any state proposals or representatives. And making a decision on city and county officials, as a first time voter, well that’s just unheard of.
Today was Joe Kollig’s first time voting in a presidential election. A 20-year-old student at Michigan State University, Kollig went into the Bailey Community Center knowing exactly how he was going to vote for president.
His process for deciding how to vote for county commissioner wasn’t as concrete.
“The guy’s last name was similar to mine, so I voted for him,” he said.
Obviously, Kollig admits, this isn’t the most effective way to vote for a candidate of public office. But for many who have never voted before, the entire process is a learning experience.
For those who don’t know, the board of commissioners of a county is a legislative body with limited authority. They are required to meet a minimum of four times per year.
In Michigan there are 83 counties, and each county is required to have somewhere between five and 35 county commissioners.
For the past ten years, Ingham County has had 16 commissioners. But beginning in January, there will only be 14.
Cutbacks of commissioner seats and districts are based on the ten-year census. In the decade leading up to 2000, there were thirteen Ingham County Commissioner seats.
Since each seat is assigned a district within the county, the number of districts can change every ten years as well. According to Marty Colburn, Mason City Administrator, this redistricting, or gerrymandering, is basically decided upon by four people: the county clerk, county treasurer, prosecutor and either a democratic or republican leader. For the past 20 years that has traditionally been a democratic leader.
Now, as Election Day comes to a close, 14 Ingham County commissioners have been elected into office for another term.
Here are the unofficial results:
1st District – Victor G. Celentino (D)
2nd District – Rebecca Bahar-Cook (D)
3rd District – Sarah Anthony (D)
4th District – Debbie DeLeon (D)
5th District – Todd Tennis (D)
6th District – Randy Maiville (R)
7th District – Kara Hope (D)
8th District – Penelope Tsernoglou (D)
9th District – Carol N. Koenig (D)
10th District – Brain McGrain (D)
11th District – Dianne Holman (D)
12th District – Deb Nolan (D)
13th District – Randy Schafer (R)
14th District – Donald R. Vickers (R)