The Board of Commissioners are the county's civilian oversight of government. They approve the county budget, and the county administrator reports to them. In a few months, new commission districts will be determined by a team of three public officials and two county political party chairmen. They'll decide the number districts and who is in them. Their decision lasts until 2031.
Commissioners elected in those districts will steer funding for the police, courts, jails, public health and any other county service. Commission lines influence precincts and polling locations. Dozens of politicians will launch their careers in a county commission.
YOU can help plan Washtenaw's commissions! This video shows how to use the redistricting tool at link belowWhen the 2020 census is delivered, we'll update the map with the latest.
Districts must all have about the same number of people. For example, if we estimate the county population at about 370000, then a ten commission plan means each district should have about 37000 people.
Send your plan to our county officials, and it'll go in the public record!
With an official population count of about 370 thousand, Washtenaw can have up to 21 commissioners. Every county must have at least five. A partisan team draws the commission lines: the prosecutor, clerk, and treasurer and the chairmen of the county's two major political parties. Thirty days after the census data is released, there's a thirty day window to submit the plan for review.
By law, commission districts must be contiguous, "as nearly square shape as is practicable," and "as nearly of equal population as is practicable." Michigan law forbids combining townships with cities, and disallows splitting any municipality or precinct... unless it is "needed to meet the population standard."
Unlike congressional districts, prisoners don't count towards population, and public comments (like your map) are part of the public record.
In the 2011 re-apportionment, Prosecutor Brian Mackie's plan reduced the board of commissioners to a Reagan-era minimum of nine seats. Mackie had also cut seats in 2001... so while the county population grew, the county commissions shrank. Commissions now cover double the constituents they had in the 90s, and of the "large" Michigan counties, Washtenaw County representation is 2nd from the bottom. for county level representation.
Mackie's 2011 plan conveniently split Ann Arbor three ways... but created a math challenge for Ypsilanti Township. The township had about half Ann Arbor's population, so it needed one and a half districts. To balance the numbers, the township and city combined, along with Augusta Township and part of Superior Township. District 4 (Pittsfield) took the northwest corner... Ypsilanti Township included districts 4, 5,and 6.
In 1972, county commission elections swung to the Democrats.
No Republican has won a commission election since 2016.