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Posted on Wed, May 4, 2011 : 1:53 p.m.

Washtenaw County redistricting process could increase number of seats on county board from 11 to 12

By Ryan J. Stanton

Washtenaw County Clerk Larry Kestenbaum says the county's redistricting process could be complete after a meeting tonight, resulting in an increase in the number of districts for the Washtenaw County Board of Commissioners from 11 to 12.

The Washtenaw County Apportionment Commission is expected to vote on a redistricting plan when it meets at 5 p.m. in a conference room at the county's offices at 200 N. Main St.

The meeting is open to the public. Free parking is available after 5 p.m. in the lot behind the building off of North Fourth Avenue.

A 12-district plan has garnered support from Kestenbaum, a Democrat who chairs the five-member Apportionment Commission, and Mark Boonstra, chairman of the Washtenaw County Republican Committee and also a commission member.

Ann Arbor would keep its four seats on the county board under the plan, and a new district would be drawn in Scio Township.

"The 12-district plan we had at the last meeting has been further revised," Kestenbaum said this afternoon. "I don't know if we're going to adopt it tonight or go onto another meeting after tonight. There's another meeting scheduled for May 11 if we need it."

Kestenbaum said the proposed new district reflects the population growth in Scio Township. He said one current county commissioner — Barbara Levin Bergman, D-Ann Arbor —would be affected by the plan, but she doesn't intend to seek re-election next year.

The districts would take effect for the 2012 August primary and November general election when all members of the county board would be up for re-election.

An alternative 9-district plan was proposed by County Prosecutor Brian Mackie, a Democrat, but it doesn't appear to have the support it needs. Mackie's plan would reduce the number of Ann Arbor districts from four to three and potentially put two current commissioners — Alicia Ping, R-Saline, and Wesley Prater, D-York Township — in the same district. will be there to cover tonight's meeting. In the meantime, what do you think of the options being considered? Leave your comments below.


A look at the current 11-district map of Washtenaw County. A plan with bipartisan support would expand the number of seats on the county board to 12 with a new district in Scio Township.


A look at the proposed 12-district map of Washtenaw County showing the new district added in Scio Township.

Ryan J. Stanton covers government and politics for Reach him at or 734-623-2529. You also can follow him on Twitter or subscribe to's e-mail newsletters.


Basic Bob

Thu, May 5, 2011 : 3:05 a.m.

District 5 in the 12-district map looks a bit ugly the way it wraps around Ann Arbor. IMO, the 9-district map is more geographically compact. It also offers an interesting breakdown: 3 from Ann Arbor, 3 from the urban townships, 3 from the rural townships. Personalities and politics will cause this to be rejected in favor of something clever.

Jay Thomas

Thu, May 5, 2011 : 2:17 a.m.

Why is this necessary in a county with a much smaller population than our neighbors to the east?


Thu, May 5, 2011 : 2:17 a.m.

I think the word is that multiples of three work best for redistricting especially considering Ann Arbor. In that light twelve is the least drastic departure from the status quo and it would give Scio Township an independent voice whereas now it is split between three districts. Still a part of me wouldn't mind reducing the number of commissioners to nine depending on how the map was drawn. Granted that would mean somewhat less representation as the districts would become larger, but the idea of two fewer politicians is a tempting prospect especially since it would save some money in per diem and salary costs. Nine has worked well for the U.S. Supreme Court in terms of avoiding deadlocks without having too many or too few decision makers. It is important for people to remember that not all issues before the county board split along partisan lines. So even though democrats will likely have a large majority, the prospect of a 6-6 tie should not be discounted entirely.


Thu, May 5, 2011 : 12:54 a.m.

Yawn. Wake me when this farce is concluded probably after a private meeting somewhere amongst a few Democrat politicos, special interests and campaign contributors. Then they'll tell us what group of people they chose to "represent" come election time.


Wed, May 4, 2011 : 9:03 p.m.

The good news is there is no chance of a deadlock even with 12 commissioners, since the vast majority will come from one party and one ideology. The only problem is this adds one more person to draw money from the tax payers, which is a tiny bit less to use to provide services. But after all it is only a tiny bit.


Wed, May 4, 2011 : 7:51 p.m.

Just what we need in this county is more division. What is the reasoning behind this? with the budget issues I would think less would be more.

Kristin Judge

Wed, May 4, 2011 : 7:36 p.m.

<a href="" rel='nofollow'></a> Here is a copy of the 12 district map that is being proposed.

Ryan J. Stanton

Wed, May 4, 2011 : 7:50 p.m.

Kristin, I just added the map to the story. Thanks for the link!

Kristin Judge

Wed, May 4, 2011 : 7:45 p.m.

Just realized the map is there. Slow download.