After weeks of meetings, the Ingham County Apportionment Commission has chosen a new map for commission districts. The map, proposed by Ingham County Clerk Barb Byrum, was adopted by the Commission at its Oct. 8 meeting.
The map increases Ingham County’s commissioner count from 14 to 15. County Treasurer Eric Schertzing said he was happy the Commission increased the number of districts. Schertzing said it would benefit the constituents of each district.
He said, “increasing the total number means each commissioner represents fewer residents, which in turn allows them to be more available to the people they serve.”
During the meeting, the Commission made slight alterations to Byrum’s original 15-district plan to balance district populations and key locations in each district.
According to a press release from Byrum, “Compromise is never easy and there certainly were some spirited discussions along the way but, at the end of the day, the Commission worked very well together and came to a consensus.”
A key point of discussion came in Byrum’s proposed 12th district. The district is in East Lansing, primarily north of Grand River Avenue, and includes parts of the Michigan State University campus.
Schertzing proposed an amendment to move the western border of District 12 from Farm Lane to Bogue Street. He said this would better represent the community in the district.
The Commission came to its decision five days before the state’s deadline. The group also canceled its planned meeting for a final vote on Oct. 11.
Byrum said, “We are always worried about the state’s system going down,” Byrum said. “It seems to be a constant.”
She said the county was having issues with its computer system, as well.
County Prosecutor Carol Siemon voiced her concerns about taking a vote on the proposed map before the deadline.
“It is uncomfortable for me as someone who is not an expert in looking at maps,” Siemon said. “This is my first time through this process. I would have preferred more time to digest it.”
Siemon, Byrum and Schertzing comprise the reapportionment committee with Ingham County Democratic Party chairperson Chris Swope and County Republican Party chairperson Yvonne Whitbeck.
After completing a myriad of other minor alterations to the map, the Commission adopted Byrum’s map, as amended.
The Commission will meet Oct. 19 to ratify the map. The new districts will take effect during the next election cycle in 2022.