Precinct Redistricting Will Be Felt On A Local Level
Some residents will be moved to a different polling place, some will have different Legislative representation.
Much has been made about the impact Congressional and Legislative redistricting will have on the residents of Tewksbury.
But the changes done yet and the final round of redistricting will have a significant impact on several Tewksbury neighborhoods.
Town Clerk Denise Graffeo is awaiting final approval from the Legislature on precinct redistricting within Tewksbury. According to the proposed changed, which have already been approved by the Board of Selectmen, several streets and sections of streets will change election precincts based on population shifts revealed in the 2010 U.S. Census.
"It's all based on population," said Graffeo. "Each precinct has to have approximately the same population."
Based on the latest census figures, the target population for each of the town's eight precincts is 3,620. According to Graffeo, the actual population of each precinct must fall within five percent above or below that target figure.
Some of the neighborhoods expected to be impacted are the area around Ames Pond, the Lee Street neighborhood, Old Boston Road neighborhood and the Hillside Road/Riverdale Avenue neighborhood.
In some cases, voters will shift polling places. In others, the shift of precinct will put them into a different legislative district.
Graffeo said that as soon as the list of streets being moved is approved by the Legislature, her office will contact every resident impacted with all of the necessary information.
The redistricting process was started well over a year ago and Graffeo credits her predecessor and former boss, Mary-Ann Nichols, with doing the lion's share of the work on the project.
There may be one additional major change impacting voters in Tewksbury the next time they go to the polls. Graffeo, along with a representative from the Secretary of State's Office, recently paid a visit to the Lowell Assembly of God Church on Andover Street to examine its viability as a polling location.
In recent elections, the Senior Center and the Library have been used as polling locations. Establishing a polling location in North Tewksbury is seen as a possible solution to Election Day traffic problems.