Redrawing districts: the shape of things for 2022
By Lisa Brody
A large cross-section of Michigan voters in 2018, 62 percent, from the tip of the northern Upper Peninsula to the Ohio border, approved a ballot initiative prepared in advance of the 2020 decennial census, to move control of redrawing the boundaries of the districts for U.S. Congress, state Senate and state House from the state legislature to an independent commission made up of ordinary citizens who would listen to people of the state as they went through the process, and then draw maps to reflect what they learned.
This is a process which occurs every 10 years, and affects both citizens and politicians for the subsequent decade, determining who represents voters in Washington D.C. and Lansing. However, in the past, it was done by whichever political party was in power, behind closed doors, which for the last several decades has been the Republican Party, including in 2011, when Republicans held the governor's office, the state Senate and state House. To many, that led to seriously imbalanced districts and ones which were drawn to protect those who were in office, or to maintain Republican control. This in a state where voters have been increasingly casting actual votes for Democrats, flipping some long-held Republican congressional seats and voting in a Democratic slate for governor, secretary of state and attorney general in 2018 – but where Republicans have kept a stronghold on the majorities of both the Senate and the House thanks to gerrymandering.
The goal of the ballot initiative was to eradicate – or at least lessen – partisan gerrymandering, which is the manipulation of political boundaries of an electoral constituency in order to favor one political party over another, providing a long-term unfair advantage to one party over another before even one vote is cast. The other goal was to do the work in public with complete transparency, rather than behind locked doors, by a commission comprising four Republicans, four Democrats, and five people with no political affiliations – people who classified themselves as Independents. For the most part, the transparency goal was reached, but not completely.
In 2020, before the U.S. Census was even complete, more than 6,200 Michiganders applied to be a part of the Michigan Independent Citizens Redistricting Commission, with 200 becoming semi-finalists for the 13 final positions by the end of June 2020. By fall of 2020, the new commission had engaged in a learning and listening tour throughout the state, and then embarked on learning communities of interest, the federal Voting Rights Act, partisan fairness and other strict guidelines of the new constitutional amendment which led to its creation, and which would culminate in newly drawn district maps, which were released on Friday, November 5, for Congress, state Senate and House. The public now has 45 days to comment and critique them before the commission reconvenes and votes to approve a new set of maps on December 30, 2021.
If they are approved and finalized, they will be the official districts for the next decade, until the next decennial census is complete in 2030.
Michigan is not the first state to rely on ordinary citizens to undertake redistricting, and it is a trend gaining so much traction, it is included as an important provision in the federal Voting Rights Act, known as the For the People Act, which has not passed the U.S. Senate, although it did pass the House of Representatives. Currently, 11 states have some kind of an independent redistricting commission – in addition to Michigan, California, Arizona, Washington, Idaho, Montana, Colorado, Iowa, Virginia, Hawaii and New Jersey all have independent panels tasked with redistricting operating outside of their state legislature’s purview.
Arizona was the first state to create an independent redistricting commission, in 2000, following voters’ approval of Proposition 106 “to create a bipartisan commission independent of the state legislature that would be tasked with redrawing congressional and legislative lines following the decennial census.” The commission is made up of 15 members – five Democrats, five Republicans, and five Independents. Their state Constitution also specifies that members cannot have held leadership as an officer in any political party, or as a lobbyist, for three years prior to serving.
The California Citizens Redistricting Commission was established following the 2008 passage of California Proposition 11, which became responsible for determining boundaries for state Senate and state Assembly, and Board of Equalization, and in 2010, after passage of Proposition 20, it added responsibility for the maps for U.S. Congress. It consists of 14 members: five Democrats, five Republicans, and four from either major party. The commission has been criticized by some politicians because “many safe seats in the legislature could become competitive,” according to Evan Halper and Richard Simon in the LA Times.
Which is exactly the point.
“This is so much better,” said state Sen. Rosemary Bayer (D-Bloomfield Township, Beverly Hills, Franklin, Bingham Farms, Pontiac, Auburn Hills, Lake Orion, Clarkston, Independence Township). “So many Democrats flipped seats in 2018, and there was no way for the (state) Senate and House to flip unless the lines were redrawn. When they’re gerrymandered, the politicians don’t even have to work anymore to represent the voters.”
Nick Stephanopoulos, who specializes in redistricting and election law at Harvard Law School, agrees.
“When politicians draw maps, it serves their interests and not their citizens,” he said. “Michigan is an example. It’s a slightly blue state that has a red stranglehold.
“Michigan is close to a worse-case scenario,” stated Stephanopoulos. “There is a distinct mismatch between a Democratic electorate and a Republican legislature, between a public that keeps electing Democrats and a legislature that is gerrymandered Republican.”
“Certainly a lot of people believe independent commissions are the way to go, so they’re keeping an eye on Michigan this year, to see if a redistricting commission can work,” said Michael Li, redistricting expert, Brennan Center for Justice at New York University Law School. “Michigan is a key focus because their districts were really gerrymandered.”
California’s original electoral district maps, in 2011, were overwhelmingly approved by the bipartisan commission, yet received a series of legal challenges. However, the California Supreme Court ruled unanimously three separate times in favor of the commission’s maps, finding them in compliance with both the U.S. Constitution and the California Constitution, and they took effect in time for the 2012 California primary. According to the Public Policy Institute of California, “California now has some of the most competitive districts in the nation, creating opportunities for new elected officials.”
In 2015, the two independent commissions were buttressed when the U.S. Supreme Court upheld Arizona’s 2010 redistricting in Harris v. Arizona Independent Redistricting Commission, in which the court held that the one-person, one-vote principle under the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment allows a state’s redistricting commission slight variances in drawing legislative districts provided the variance does not exceed 10 percent.
“We looked at California and Arizona’s commissions, we got to be a friend of the commissioners in those states, and we looked at best practices,” said Nancy Wang, executive director, Voters Not Politicians, the grassroots group behind the successful 2018 ballot initiative to amend Michigan’s Constitution. “You can recognize some of the characteristics of the California act that we thought would apply to Michigan, but there is a huge difference in how the Michigan commissioners apply and are selected. It’s totally random here. There was no single body here or officials that were trusted to be insulated to be impartial or not political. In California, there’s a solicitor general. We have one too, but it’s not impartial.
“We had to craft a unique proposal,” Wang said, noting that certain aspects, such as communities of interest are in Arizona, California and other states, and they felt having an odd number of commissioners and other criteria was important.
Wang, like many other political figures, political scientists, political consultants – and lots of regular folks – have been avidly watching the machinations of the Michigan Independent Citizens Redistricting Commission as they have gone through the process of listening, learning, drawing maps, a series of required public hearings, and then tweaking the maps before their release on November 5. Without a doubt, there have been growing pains and some difficulties. But most do not believe it has been a futile exercise and are certain that by the time 2022 rolls around, the major effort will prove to be not only worthwhile, but a great improvement over the current maps.
“It’s been crazy in many predictable ways,” noted David Dulio, director of Oakland University Center for Civic Engagement and a political science professor. “Those who are paying attention are realizing that drawing maps are difficult. Any kind of line drawing is ripe for criticism.”
“We should celebrate some things, like the commission has not been particularly partisan. There have been conflicts, but not on partisan grounds. The hearings have been public. The drawing process has been public, and the public has been able to see the changes. The maps have all had some improvements from previous maps and will score significantly better on partisan criteria than previous maps,” said Dr. Matt Grossman, director, Institute for Public Policy and Social Research, which does redistricting analysis reports, and professor of political science, Michigan State University.
“The not so good?” Grossman asked. “There’s been a real struggle with the Voting Rights Act,” noting issues with “unpacking,” or not concentrating all African American voters into districts contained in the city of Detroit, but working to maintain a majority while spreading districts into suburban areas. “The commission has been following their attorney and consultant’s perspective, which is a fairly idiosyncratic interpretation of the Voting Rights Act and African American interests. It’s based on data that is incomplete. The analysis is, would an African American preferred candidate win in a district. The harder analysis is could the African American preferred candidate win the Democratic primary? Many of the districts are drawn from Detroit out to the suburbs.”
Oakland University political science professor John Klemanski said, “I think there’s been a lot of growing pains. It’s the first time it’s been done differently from the old way. It’s been transparent. They spent a lot of time looking at the implications of drawing the lines and the implications of the Voting Rights Act. The software tells you the percentage of African Americans in a district and it will red flag you if there is too much or too low. They spent a lot of time just on that issue – and rightly so, it’s the first issue they have to watch for, that will impact minority voters.
“When you take something public that was private, and you see all the warts – and there were warts – they’re (commission members) all private citizens, they’re not savvy about all of their decisions, and they have invited people all along to provide feedback, to draw maps – it’s like hyper-pluralism,” Klemanski noted. “As a teacher of Michigan politics, I say it’s easy to criticize. In California, a lot of the reaction to the first time was disappointment. There will always be someone disappointed, but I don’t think the average person will be terribly disappointed. The commission has tried hard to make each district balanced in a partisan way – when you do that, you can end up with a district that looks squiggly and gerrymandered, and a casual observer of the maps may think they’re gerrymandered. The intent is to create some semblance of partisan balance.”
“The promise of a commission is a more fair map that does not gerrymander. The notable thing about the Michigan commission is that not only do they have to not gerrymander, but an affirmative, fair partisan requirement is for good and not for evil,” said Harvard Law’s Stephanopoulos. He said the commission has done “a pretty good job in following Michigan and federal law. While not perfect, they are a huge improvement over the previous incarnation. It’s not just the 2010 maps that were skewed – so were the 2000 maps, all the way back to at least the 1980s.”
“It’s not uncommon to have pains when starting a redistricting commission, especially when coming from gerrymandered maps.” noted the Brennan Center’s Li. “In California, they were widely panned, and then the commission did what they had to do – they came up with really good maps.
“It’s very hard for people to say what they want in the abstract,” Li said. “It’s like redesigning your house. Until you have the designer come in and show you what didn’t work or what new options there are, you don’t know what you could do or what you want to live with. The redistricting commission, they’re doing it out in the open – before, you didn’t know what happened. It was a secret closed door process, where one party was shut out. Now, everyone has their say – as they should – these maps will be used for 10 years. But there are important legal issues, and there is some dispute as to what they have to include. If they get it wrong, there are remedies. There could be lawsuits. However, when a redistricting commission draws maps, the lawsuits get dismissed much quicker.
“The thing about commissions is, they don’t necessarily get the maps exactly right – but they don’t do wholesale discrimination,” he continued. “They’re in the ballpark, and their intent is there. So the fixes are more tweaking, generally.”
The Michigan Independent Citizens Redistricting Commission had strict constitutional responsibilities set forth by both federal law and new Michigan constitutional requirements set forth by the approved ballot proposal. Before drawing any lines, the commission was required to hold at least 10 public hearings. Per the Michigan Constitution, the purposes of the hearings were to: inform the public about the redistricting process; share the purpose and responsibilities of the commission; and solicit information from the public about potential redistricting plans for the state’s Congress, House and Senate districts.
The Michigan Constitution outlines the specific criteria and procedures the commission must use when proposing and adopting a redistricting plan, listed in priority. The first is that “districts must be of equal population as mandated by the United States Constitution and shall comply with the Voting Rights Act and other federal laws.”
Second, districts shall be “geographically contiguous.”
Third is communities of interest. “Districts shall reflect the state’s diverse population and communities of interest. Communities of interest may include, but shall not be limited to, populations that share cultural or historical characteristics or economic interests. Communities of interests do not include relationships with political parties, incumbents or political candidates.”
MSU’s Grossman felt there was a lot of problems with what the public submitted with communities of interest, and how the commission viewed them.
“The public used communities of interest as a launch to design their own districts,” he said. “The commission used them as who people want – and don’t want – in their districts. It’s an invitation for homogenous districts. There has been partisan disputes also, because Democrats are more concentrated in the state. You can’t draw a Republican district that is as Republican as the Democratic districts. It’s easier to pack Democratic districts than Republican districts because Republicans are more spread out.”
Fourth, “Districts shall not provide a disproportionate advantage to any political party,” followed by, “Districts shall not favor or disfavor an incumbent elected official or a candidate.”
“We learned that if you put partisan fairness above communities of interest, then communities of interest would be disregarded,” said Wang of Voters Not Politicians. “We keep making the point to the commission that you can have all the aspects included – you can respect communities of interest and strive to not deprive partisan fairness at the same time. Even if you don’t get everything you want, then we hope you appreciate what it took to get there. You just have to respect the process.”
Lower on the list than on previous redistricting endeavors, “Districts shall reflect consideration of county, city and township boundaries,” followed by “districts shall be reasonably compact.”
A series of public hearings was required following the development of plans for each type of district, where comments were heard. “The vast majority of comments are complaints,” noted Oakland University’s Dulio, who pointed out that a lot of the districts “are funny looking – which if the legislature had drawn these they would definitely had been criticized for it. The public comments show the public thinks these maps are gerrymandered.
“From the ‘90s onward, the states were encouraged to do racial gerrymandering, to create those majority/minority districts,” he said. Now we’re seeing the commission being criticized for ‘unpacking’ the districts, when that is what some called for. When you ‘unpack,’ you are ‘cracking,’ to some degree.”
“We would call it cracked if it is 49 percent Black, and many (on the commission) are saying they’re complying with the Voting Rights Act if its 39 percent Black they’ll say it’s 14 percent Hispanic,” said Bob Chunn, president and co-founder, RelA2ve, which does software solutions for redistricting in Michigan, and NextVote, which is working with nonprofits in the state on communities of interest. “We simplify all the information and put it in front of people and point out the problems… I would have started with the highest level of criteria, getting the population in balance for the districts.”
He said many communities of interest “did not get their interests out before the commission,” and therefore were separated in districts.
The two major political parties view the process through different lenses – but are both disappointed with the process, although for different reasons. Lavora Barnes, chairwoman, Michigan Democratic Party, feels “they miss the mark of what the maps were required to reflect. The commission started without it taking partisan fairness or the Voting Rights Act into account, and then started looking at it – after the first maps were drawn. Now they’re trying to tweak it and get them right.”
Subsequent maps did take those concerns into account.
“Many areas the commission needs to work on and need to reflect are the changes that have happened in the last 10 years,” Barnes noted. “You have to throw out the old districts, and you can’t go by what you thought you knew, but what you actually do know about them.”
Rocky Raczkowski, chair of the Oakland County Republican Party, said the commission process “has been a colossal disaster. The Democrats caused it because they wanted to socially engineer elections. We’ve always had the legislature draw maps… We’ve always had (Bernie) Apol standards, which took into account compactness of the district, contiguity, community of interest, and most importantly was the least amount of county, city and township lines broken….There was always gerrymandering.”
Following the release and publishing of the maps for Congress, state House and Senate on November 5, there is now a period of at least 45 days for public comment. To adopt a final redistricting map, each must be approved by a majority vote of the commission that includes at least two Republican members, two Democrat members, and two commissioners who do not affiliate with either party.
“I would have thought the commission would have been more responsive to public feedback than they have been, especially based on our study.,” Grossman said. “I think they’re erring on the side of (being) out of compliance (of the Voting Rights Act), because we’ve spread the African American districts out too far. We’re clearing on the side of cracking, and we could move quite a bit on the side of packing before we risk actually packing.
“It’s harder to change the maps now,” Grossman said. “They want the comments to be which of the maps are best, but they’ve made the maps very similar. In our report, we hardly find much deviation between their maps.
“I think the commission maps will move forward because the process has not been that partisan. But they obviously knew they’d face litigation, and that seems likely,” he said.
Wang of Voters Not Politicians expect there will be lawsuits no matter which maps are chosen. “Absolutely,” she said. “It’s unfortunately the times we’re in. However, no map approved by an independent commission has been overturned, in contrast to many, many legislative maps that have been overturned for racial gerrymandering, for example.”
“It’s better this way than by the legislature because these commissioners have gone around the state twice and listened to the public and heard what they had to say. We’ve seen them make changes to the maps based on what they heard,” Chunn said. “In the past the maps couldn’t be looked at right away, and now I can look at the maps and tell you which way they lean. There’s a lot of growing pains. Anything good takes some growing. It’s not going to be perfect – but these 13 people listed to hundreds and thousands of people, and that made a difference. I’m proud of them, from both sides, for working together, taking the time to work on this.”
In terms of the maps that were just issued, the Michigan Independent Citizens Redistricting Commission released three Congressional maps with 13 districts, reflecting the loss of one district for Michigan in the 2020 census due to population loss.
The first map is called Chestnut. Birmingham and Bloomfield Hills, currently represented by Rep. Haley Stevens (D), and Bloomfield Township, represented by Rep. Andy Levin (D), are in a contiguous district, District 11, which runs to 8 Mile, at the border of Detroit, other than including Southfield, Bingham Farms, Beverly Hills, and Franklin, which are part of District 12, hypothetically Rep. Brenda Lawrence’s district. The district extends north to Auburn Hills, with a carve out to exclude Rochester Hills and Rochester, including Pontiac, Waterford, West Bloomfield, Commerce Township, Wixom, Farmington, Farmington Hills, Royal Oak, Berkley, Troy, Huntington Woods, Madison Heights, Hazel Park and Ferndale.
Neither Stevens nor Levin, through their representatives, would comment on the redistricting process until the maps are final.
The Birch map runs south along 8 Mile Road, inclusive of all Oakland County communities, stopping along Woodward, so they include eastern most communities of Rochester, Rochester Hills, Troy, Royal Oak, Berkley, Huntington Woods and Ferndale, are in District 10, along with Sterling Heights, Warren and Clinton Township. The Birch map goes west to Highland Township, Milford, S. Lyon and north to include Orion Township, but does not include Clarkston and northern Oakland County, which is in District 9, along with Genesee County.
The third congressional map is the Apple map. Oakland County is split in two, with the 11th District running along 8 Mile Road to the south, inclusive of Royal Oak and Ferndale to S. Lyon and Novi, cutting in south of Milford to the west and Troy to the east. In this map, Troy, Rochester, Rochester Hills and Oakland Township are in District 10, with Macomb Township communities of Washington Township, Sterling Heights, St. Clair Shores and Eastpointe. The rest of Oakland County is in District 9, with Genesee County.
As far as state legislative maps, the commission released three state Senate maps of 38 districts. The first map is called Cherry, with Sen. Mallory McMorrow (D), who currently represents Birmingham, Bloomfield Hills, Royal Oak, Troy, Rochester and Rochester Hills, now repesenting District 8, which goes south instead of north, losing all but Birmingham and Royal Oak, and picking up Ferndale, Oak Park, Royal Oak Township, Huntington Woods and part of Detroit. Sen. Rosemary Bayer (D), who currently represents Bloomfield Township, Beverly Hills, Bingham Farms, Franklin, Pontiac, Lake Orion, Clarkston, and Independence Township, would have District 7, dipping into Detroit, Southfield, Beverly Hills, Bingham Farms, Franklin, Bloomfield Township, Bloomfield Hills, Auburn Hills, Pontiac. The eastern part of Bloomfield Hills is in District 9, along with Troy, Rochester, Rochester Hills, and part of Sterling Heights.
In the Palm map, McMorrow’s district is the same, but it is District 6; Bayer’s is District 13.
In the Linden map, McMorrow’s district is narrow, running from Rochester and Rochester Hills in the north to include Ferndale in the south, and includes Troy, Royal Oak, Berkley and Huntington Woods. Bayer could run in District 10, which includes Birmingham, Bloomfield Hills, Bloomfield Township, West Bloomfield, Orchard Lake, Keego Harbor, Sylvan Lake, Pontiac, Lake Angelus and Auburn Hills, or in District 11, which is more likely Senator Jeremy Moss’ district, comprising Novi, Northville, Farmington, Farmington Hills, Southfield, Franklin, Beverly Hills, Bingham Farms and Lathrup Village.
Until the maps are adopted, legislators running for re-election and candidates are in limbo – and if there is litigation, that could potentially delay where they are running in 2022, as well. It can also have huge implications for fundraising for next year’s campaigns as well, although McMorrow said that “going on maternity leave (earlier this year) affected it more than redistricting.”
As for the state House, the commission released three maps of districts. Current Birmingham/Bloomfield Rep. Mari Manoogian (D) would find her district carved up differently under each of the three maps. In the Pine map, Birmingham is in District 11 along with the Bloomfield Village, down along Southfield Road to I-96, apparently with slivers of communities, in a long narrow map. An eastern portion of Birmingham is in District 31, with Troy.
Bloomfield Township and Bloomfield Hills are in a parenthesis-shaped district, District 30, curving around Pontiac, along with Auburn Hills up to Orion Township.
In the Magnolia map, a majority of Birmingham is in District 5, without Bloomfield Village, although with a similar configuration as the Pine map. An eastern portion of Birmingham is in District 31, with Troy. Bloomfield Township and Bloomfield Hills are in District 54, with the same boundaries as the Pine map.
It appears in the Hickory map, as in Magnolia, Birmingham is in District 5, and Bloomfield Township are in District 54.
Manoogian declined to comment on the maps or the redistricting process as a sitting House member.
Until December 30, citizens can weigh in on each of the maps by going to https://tinyurl.com/3e3tdpyp.
New Oakland County commission map
Redistricting, or reapportionment, for the Oakland County Board of commissioners followed a different process than for Congress, state Senate and House.
Five members of the board of commissioners, including Chair Dave Woodward, a Royal Oak Democrat, sat on an ad hoc reapportionment committee to establish the county's districts. Along with Woodward, three of the five committee members were Democrats – only commissioner Eileen Kowall, of White Lake, and Mike Spisz of Oxford are Republican. Currently the board of commissioners has a one-vote Democrat majority, 11-10.
Following approval of the recommended map, Woodward's Reapportionment Map Plan A 3, the entire board was required to finalize and approve it, which they did on Tuesday, November 9, by a bipartisan vote of 14-7. It was then sent to county clerk Lisa Brown, who was to send it to the Michigaan Secretary of State's office. There is 30-day window for the map to be challenged before it is finalized.
Prior to 2012, elected heads of county offices drew maps and voted on them to determine county commission districts. That changed when former Oakland County Executive L. Brooks Patterson changed the process in a bit of political maneuvering to prevent the heads of elected office – who at that time were primarily Democrat – from drawing Democrat-favored maps. Then-Gov. Snyder signed into law Public Act 280, which stated that counties with a population of 50,000 or more would be prohibited from having more than 21 commissioners, while those with fewer than 50,000 people would be permitted to maintain the same number of commissioners that they had. At the time, Oakland County, which had 25 commissioners, reduced it down to 21, with a majority of them Republican.
That majority held until 2018, when Democrats took a one-seat majority. The new map is redrawn to have 19 districts, which Woodward said is to accommodate population deviations and lower the differences between the highest and lowest districts, with a target population of 67,073.
It was not the only map presented to the ad hoc committee – besides revisions to Woodward's map, committee members Eileen Kowall and Michael Spisz submitted maps, neither of which were voted on.
According to the Municipal Research and Services Center of Washington, “counties are complex organizations governed by 11 elected officials, or more, and overseen by a commission that acts as the executive, legislative, and judicial branches of government at various times. The job of commissioner is, therefore, necessarily complex. Commissioners must understand each level of their responsibility to effectively lead a county… they oversee county activities, approve budgets and work to ensure that citizen concerns are met, federal and state requirements are fulfilled, and county operations run smoothly. County commissioners spend a lot of time working with and representing people.”
“The map is more equal than the maps adopted 10 years ago, and this map includes three minority/majority districts,” Woodward said. “With this consolidation of communities, there's a decrease in seats, but we're doing our best to minimize community breaks. We started the decade with a population in Oakland County of 1.2 million, and in 2020, we'd grown to 1.27 million, but most of that population growth is in the southwest portion of the county.”
Woodward said the motivation to reduce the number of commissioners from 21 to 19 was to save money, have more efficient government, and “still leaves Oakland County with the largest public body outside the state legislature.
Commissioner Chuck Moss (R-Birmingham, Bloomfield Township, Bloomfield Hills) does not support the new map.
“The map speaks for itself. In no way does it keep communities of interest together. Pontiac is cut in half. Bloomfield Township is cut in half. Birmingham is in a small sliver and goes all the way down to Huntington Woods and Ferndale. I love Ferndale, but Birmingham has nothing in common with Ferndale,” Moss said. “It's an obvious gerrymander. It ignores communities of interest.
“In one district, three Republican commissioners are put together, in another, two Republican commissioners are. No Democratic commissioners are put together,” he said. “I'm not going to vote for Birmingham and put them in a weird gerrymander.”
In Woodward's approved map, while Bloomfield Township is not exactly cut in half, without a doubt Moss' current district has been reconfigured. Birmingham is now in District 1, with part of Royal Oak, Berkley, Huntington Woods and Ferndale, traditional Democrat majority districts. The majority of Bloomfield Township are all of Bloomfield Hills is in District 11, along with the eastern half of West Bloomfield and Orchard Lake Village. A portion of the southern part of the township is in District 18, with Southfield, Franklin, Bingham Farms and Beverly Hills. The western and eastern portions of northeast Bloomfield Township are in District 9, with Pontiac. Pontiac is not cut in half – but a third of it is carved out to put it with West Bloomfield, Waterford, Keego Harbor and Sylvan Lake.
Kowall's map also reduced the number of commissioners to 19, but maintained more contiguous communities of interest in drawing its boundaries, such as keeping almost all of Birmingham, Bloomfield Hills and Birmingham together in one district, District 15, and Pontiac is whole, with Auburn Hills. White Lake and half of Waterford comprise one district, District 14, while the rest of Waterford is with West Bloomfield, Lake Angelus, Keego Harbor and Sylvan Lake. Royal Oak, Berkley and Lathrup Village are in one district, District 9, while Huntington Woods, part of Southfield and Ferndale make up District 17.
Spisz's map kept the number of commissioners at 21, and split many of the communities of interest, such as Bloomfield Township, which would have been in three different districts, as would have Troy and Farmington Hills. Tiny Walled Lake and Hazel Park would have each been in two.
“The economic power of Oakland County powers the state, and I am impressed that it will continue for the next decade,” Woodward said.