Every 10 years, Massachusetts cities and towns are required to review their population data from the most recent U.S. Census and submit an updated ward and precinct map to the State for approval. The State provides municipalities with strict guidelines that must be followed for this process. An internal working group is collaborating with the Secretary of the Commonwealth’s Office to propose new ward and precinct boundaries that will be submitted to the City Council for local approval on October 28, 2021.
Somerville’s official population grew 7 percent since the last U.S. Census, expanding from 75,754 to 81,045. Changes to accommodate this increase as well as anticipated population growth are expected to result in minimal impacts for most voters. The working group is proposing to increase the number of precincts in each of the city’s seven ward from three to four precincts per ward. By expanding the number of precincts, the expectation is that only minor adjustments to ward boundaries will be necessary.
Under this proposal, the only change most voters might experience due to reprecincting would then be a new voting location. For the vast majority, their ward assignment, Ward Councilor, and School Committee Member would remain the same. Voters residing in the small number of blocks that will need to be shifted to an adjacent ward to meet State guidelines would have a new Ward Councilor and new School Committee Member. This change will not affect voting for the 2021 November election. New representation would go into effect on December 31, 2021.
Feedback from the public on the proposed map is welcome. For more information and to review the proposed new map, please visit somervillema.gov/Precincts. All comments must be received by 4:30 p.m., Thursday, October 14. Please email comments, questions, or suggestions to: firstname.lastname@example.org. Comments may also be mailed to: Attn.: Reprecincting Working Group, c/o Elections Department, City of Somerville, 93 Highland Ave., Somerville, MA 02143.