Half of Lansing City Council’s live in District 4. Would more districts assist?
Lansing City Council will shortly adjust the city’s political boundaries to bring voters closer to the polling stations and to equalize the number of people in each district.
This process, known as redistribution, is designed to ensure that people across the city are evenly represented by the city government. It takes place every 10 years on the basis of new census data in accordance with the city charter.
But changing the parish boundaries of Lansing can’t do much for representation. That’s because four of the eight current councilors live in Ward 4 on the northwest side.
Likewise the mayor and the town clerk.
Less than 3,000 of Lansing’s 119,000 residents would be affected by the city’s proposed reallocation plan, which would relocate three boroughs of Lansing to another district to balance the number of voters across the city’s four districts.
The result would be an average of 28,158 voters in each district. If approved, the changes would come into effect in 2022.
Still, Nick Laszande, an election inspector who works in the town clerk’s office, wonders if the town could do more to improve representation.
“We only have four districts and I think that is not efficient enough to really represent the people,” said Laszande. “I think the overall positions should probably be eliminated and we should consider adding more, probably up to eight.”
Of the four Lansing councilors, Kathie Dunbar, Peter Spadafore and Carol Wood live in Ward 4 with councilor Brian Jackson, Mayor Andy Schor and town clerk Chris Swope.
With so many elected officials concentrated in one part of Lansing, Laszande suggested the city do more to change its voting card.
“We’re already going through border changes. We should consider something like (adding districts), ”he said during a public comment at the October 11th city council meeting.
He pointed to Detroit as an example to be followed. In 2012, the city rose from nine city council members to just two, with the other seven seats allocated to different districts.
“That would represent more people, more representation for each of the neighborhoods, and the districts would be more compact,” said Laszande.
Adding wards is not something the secretary’s office has considered, said assistant secretary Brian Jackson.
The city charter defines Lansing’s four-station system and demands that the borders must be “compact, coherent and of equal population”. The only provision for boundary changes is based on census data.
The approval of further districts would ultimately have to be approved by the voters.
“That would change the city’s charter,” Jackson said.
In addition to the redistribution, there will be a few minor changes to the Lansing voting card once the state redistribution is complete.
“We will be returning to the council with district lines and redesigning other districts to match these new districts to avoid having half of one district in one Senate district and the other in another,” said Jackson.
The city may also be able to increase the size of some districts as the number of people absent increases.
“The station itself doesn’t get the same number of people now,” Jackson said. “We have some pretty good data on this so we think we can cut the number of wards, but we’ll wait for all the other dust to clear and see what our map looks like and what makes sense for us the skill.” to maximize the voter experience. ”
Any changes to the polling stations will be discussed in an open, public forum where townspeople will have the opportunity to provide feedback, Jackson said.
“This is the first step in a multi-step process,” said Jackson. “It will all be very transparent.”
The re-allocation proposal was referred to the city’s general committee during the council meeting on October 11th and will be submitted to the city council for consideration at a later date.
Contact reporter Elena Durnbaugh at (517) 231-9501 or [email protected] Follow her on Twitter at @ElenaDurnbaugh.