HOUGHTON - The redrawing of legislative bondaries that occurs after every census doesn't just happen on the state and federal levels.
This year's Houghton County elections will mark the first appearance on the ballot of the county's new districts. They were developed to reflect changing population trends after census data arrived in April 2011.
"Each one of those districts, we had to set them up with the same amount of population or close to in each of the districts," said Houghton County Treasurer Kathleen Beattie.
The latest district assignments are: District 1, Calumet and Hancock townships; District 2, Franklin, Osceola, Quincy, Schoolcraft and Torch Lake townships; District 3, Adams Township and the city of Hancock; District 4, The city of Houghton; and District 5, Chassell, Duncan, Elm River, Laird, Portage and Stanton Townships.
Hancock Township moved from District 2 to District 1, while Quincy Township moved from District 3 to District 2. Districts 4 and 5 are unchanged.
The new boundaries were developed by the county's reapportionment committee, which consists of the county's clerk, treasurer and prosecuting attorney as well as the heads of the Democratic and Republican parties.
"That way, everybody gets to vote, and you don't have setting up districts through a gerrymandering process," Beattie said.
Townships in the districts must be contiguous, and the populations of each district must be close to equal. In the last census, Houghton gained people, while Calumet Township declined, requiring the addition of another township to District 1.
If the population were distributed equally throughout the county, each district would have 7,326 people. As it is, the smallest is District 1, with 6,950; District 4 is the largest at 7,708.
The 10.35 percent between the smallest and largest district falls within the state's parameters, Beattie said.