The apportionment of Republican precinct delegates in Macomb County for 2012 is not compliant with state law.
The process for determining apportionment is governed by Michigan Election Law Act 116 of 1954 Section 168.623a. Section 3 of this provision states:
The allotment of delegates to all precincts in the state shall be made to insure, as near as is practicable, equal apportionment based upon the total vote cast for the candidate of each political party for either president of the United States or secretary of state at the last general November election when elections for those offices were held, whichever is later. However, each precinct shall have at least 1 delegate.
According to a source in the Michigan Republican Party, the formula recommended for Macomb County was the number of votes cast per precinct for Ruth Johnson in 2010 divided by 139. This value is to be rounded up.
With this formula, the total number of delegate slots available in the county would be 1170. The apportionment initially submitted to the County Clerk’s office on March 29 listed a total of 1170 delegate slots. However, the final total finished at 1164 due to multiple corrections that needed to be made to the lists.
The real discrepancies are identified when looking at the results on a precinct by precinct analysis. Many precincts are above or below the number of delegates that should be assigned if the formula was applied properly. In total, 83 of 353 precincts do not have proper allocations.
When aggregated to a municipal level, the discrepancies are more noticeable:
- Armada Township over allocated 1 delegate
- Bruce Township over allocated 5 delegates
- Chesterfield Township under allocated 4 delegates
- Clinton Township under allocated 12 delegates
- Eastpointe under allocated 4 delegates
- Fraser under allocated 2 delegates
- Harrison Township over allocated 2 delegates
- Lenox Township under allocated 1 delegate
- Macomb Township under allocated 2 delegates
- Mt. Clemens over allocated 1 delegate
- New Baltimore under allocated 1 delegate
- Richmond City under allocated 2 delegates
- Richmond Township under allocated 1 delegate
- Roseville under allocated 3 delegates
- Shelby Township over allocated 16 delegates
- St. Clair Shores under allocated 7 delegates
- Sterling Heights over allocated 3 delegates
- Washington Township over allocated 7 delegates
The responsibility for submitting the delegate apportionment to the County Clerk lies solely with the Chairperson of the County Parties. For Republicans in Macomb County, this responsibility fell to Barbara VanSyckel. When Mrs. VanSyckel was asked in a Macomb County Republican Executive Committee meeting who put together the apportionment, her response was that she, her husband Don, and Stanley Grot, the chairperson of the 10th Congressional District, conducted this activity.
Mr. Grot’s precinct, Shelby Township Precinct 23, is a direct example of over allocation. The total number of votes cast for Ruth Johnson in this precinct in 2010 was 853. If 853 is divided by 139, the result is 6.14. When that number is rounded up, it would result in 7 delegates. Currently 9 delegates have been apportioned to this precinct.
When discovered, I brought these discrepancies to the attention of Mrs. VanSyckel. At this point, the County Clerk had rejected Mrs. VanSyckel’s apportionment submission twice for including precincts in the county that no longer existed. No action was taken based on my request as a third submission conformed to the minimal standards reviewed by the County Clerk and still contained the discrepancies. According to the County Clerk’s office, the only standards they check for is that all precincts in the county are listed, that all precincts listed are valid and that each precinct has at least one delegate assignment.
Inquiries to the County Clerk’s office, the Michigan Secretary of State and the Michigan Republican Party all indicated that no recourse for correction was available to them. The only potential remedy would have been to issue a lawsuit to force the list be put in compliance with the state law.
Here is a timeline and additional documentation:
- January 24, 2012 – Michigan Republican Party sends memo to County Party Chairs regarding 2012 Precinct Delegate Apportionment (Precinct Delegate Apportionment MEMO-NOTICE.doc)
- March 29, 2012 – Macomb County Republican Party submitted Precinct Delegate allocation (2012 REPUBLICAN PD Allocations.pdf)
- March 29, 2012 – Chief Elections Clerk sent letter (via USPS and email) that the allocation contained some inaccuracies, please send a revised allocation. (VanSyckel Letter 1.pdf)
- March 31, 2012 – Macomb County Republican Party submitted revised Precinct Delegate allocation (2012 REPUBLICAN PD Allocations – Revised.pdf)
- April 4, 2012 – Elections Specialist sent letter (via USPS and email) that the revised allocation contained another inaccuracy, please send another revised allocation. (VanSyckel Letter 2.pdf)
- April 5, 2012 – County Clerk’s Office provides timeline for documentation (schmitz-letter-20120405.docx)
- April 6, 2012 – Rob Montilla sends Barbara VanSyckel letter indicating apportionment discrepancies (letter-to-Barbara-VanSyckel.pdf)
- April 10, 2012 – Macomb County Republican Party submitted revised Precinct Delegate allocation (2012 REPUBLICAN PD Allocations – Revised 4-10-2012.pdf)