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Apportionment members submit preliminary maps

Houghton County Apportionment Commission members Dan Holcomb and Lisa Mattila submitted maps that look to be the early frontrunners at Wednesday’s meeting. The group needs to have its work completed by the second week of October or run the risk of requiring an extension or having to use a map drawn by the public instead.

Holcomb’s map makes minimal changes to the current lines. It has a variance between the least populated district and the most populated of around 11.2%, which is within acceptable limits, but not by much. Member Brittany Bulleit said she believed that it was the commission’s charge to reduce that number as much as possible.

Member Lisa Mattila’s map has only a 10 percent variance, but tests some of the lesser restrictions a bit more. Hancock must be combined with another jurisdiction, since its population is not large enough to garner its own district. Houghton is too big, so part of the city has been split off and added to another district that also includes townships. A couple of maps that include six commissioners were also considered.

Bulleit provided a map that reduced population variance as much as possible, barely eight percent, but even she conceded that it resulted in clunky districts that were not practical. Members now have to decide how they want to balance the conflicting parameters that have been placed on them to arrive at the best map possible.

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