Shrewsbury considers change to voting precincts
By Joan Goodchild
Shrewsbury – The Board of Selectmen heard from residents on the issue of creating an additional voting precinct and possibly changing the number of Town Meeting members that represent each voting area at the board's May 23 meeting.
A 12 percent increase in Shrewsbury's population over the last decade has prompted the need for new precinct boundaries. There are currently nine voting precincts in the town. Shrewsbury now has more than 35,000 residents and some of the precincts have more than the state-required limit of 4,000 voters.
Precinct 9, which encompasses the southwest corner of Shrewsbury and was added after the 2000 census, saw the most growth. That precinct currently has more than 5,000 residents.
Adding another district would mean changing the boundaries of precincts 4, 8 and 9.
Several residents spoke favorably to the board about adding a 10th precinct.
“It probably makes sense,” said resident John Lukach. “We are going to have to do it sooner or later, given the size of town.”
“The issue with adding an additional precinct is finding another polling location,” said Town Manager Daniel Morgado.
If a 10th district were added, Morgado said he was unsure where the polling place would be located. Several polling places are not municipally owned and Precincts 5 and 8, for example, both use the Municipal Garage on South Street for voting.
The other option is to redraw district lines, which Morgado said would still put the number of voters near maximum in many areas. In either scenario, precincts would have to re-elect Town Meeting members, according to Town Clerk Sandra Wright.
The selectmen will vote on the issue at their next meeting Tuesday, June 7. Any future changes would not take effect until 2012.
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