Marlborough proposes revisions to state recommended redistricting plan

‘Small changes’ will impact some residents, City Clerk says

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By Stuart Foster, Contributing Writer

Marlborough proposes revisions to state recommended redistricting plan
A revised version of a state redistricting plan for precincts and wards in Marlborough avoids making major changes to city council representation for two neighborhoods in town that would have been redistricted under the state’s plan. (Screenshot/via City of Marlborough)

MARLBOROUGH – Though some residents would see their City Council representation change, the majority of Marlborough neighborhoods would continue to be represented by their current city council ward under a current redistricting plan, according to City Clerk Steve Kerrigan.

The Marlborough City Council Redistricting Committee approved a proposed new ward and precinct map for the city at a meeting on Sept. 30.

All cities and towns are required to redraw voting districts every ten years. Specifically, communities must draw roughly equally-sized wards and precincts after the release of new census information.

“It’s very important because it makes sure that the representation is equal across our city and then, if you want to take it on a broader spectrum, our state, across the country,” Kerrigan recently told the Community Advocate. “It’s something that happens only once every ten years after the federal census, and that’s why it’s so very important for people to remember to return those censuses.”

The first version of this year’s map, Kerrigan said, was prepared entirely by the office of
Massachusetts Secretary of the Commonwealth William Galvin. Kerrigan said that office does a “fantastic” job overall and has been very helpful. He said that Marlborough could have lived with the first draft the state submitted.

However, Kerrigan noticed that, on the first draft, the Glenbrook and Lodi Road neighborhoods in town had been divided into different precincts. He proposed revisions to keep Glenbrook in Ward 3, Precinct 2 while keeping Lodi Road in Ward 6, Precinct 2.

Ward 3 is currently represented by Christian Dumais, while Ward 6 is represented by Sean Navin.

“You develop a relationship with your ward councilor. That ward councilor gets to know that neighborhood and the residents in it and what’s going on in that area,” Kerrigan said, noting comments made by City Councilor Kathleen Robey. “I think it’s a good thing to try to maintain that.”

Districting for the Glenbrook and Lodi Road neighborhoods is preserved in the second draft of the new map, Kerrigan said. Smaller divisions of neighborhoods and streets, though, did have to be made in order to make sure each precinct has roughly the same population.

While Kerrigan said that these changes could be important for the people living in those areas, in the grand scheme of things, they are smaller divisions than the initially proposed alternative of breaking up districting for Glenbrook and Lodi Road.

“There are some very small changes now, but there were going to be very small changes even with the state’s original map,” Kerrigan said. “There were the two large changes that I saw and then there were a number of smaller changes. Now there are a number of smaller changes and not as many big changes.”

Kerrigan encouraged individuals to watch the map presentation from the Sept. 30 Redistricting Committee meeting when it is posted on the town website.

The new map will now go before the full City Council for a vote.

In addition, the changes will then have to be approved by the Local Election District Review Commission. The changes will go into effect on Dec. 31 and will not impact this fall’s municipal elections.