By Justin Roshak, Contributing Writer
HUDSON – Hudson voters may cast their ballots in a new location the next time they go to the polls thanks to a proposed redistricting of the town’s precincts following the release of census data.
Like all Massachusetts communities, the town has to review its voting precincts every 10 years based on census data.
The new precinct map, drawn up in coordination with the Secretary of the Commonwealth’s office, eliminates precinct seven, which currently includes portions of downtown West of the intersection of Main Street and Broad Street. That precinct also stretches north to include neighborhoods around Tower Street, as well as areas around most of Bruce’s Pond.
Precinct seven would be absorbed by other existing precincts under that plan.
The town is also looking to shuffle its voting locations for its individual precincts. While the majority of voters would not experience a change, those in precinct five would now vote at Hudson High School. Individuals in precinct four would vote at Quinn Middle School.
The town would close the voting locations at Forest Ave. Elementary School and Mulready Elementary School.
“Having fewer precincts and sharing locations allows us to adapt more efficiently to changes in elections that may still come down the line,” Town Clerk Joan Wordell said of this effort.
Wordell predicted that pandemic-era measures like early and mail-in voting will become more popular and even expected in future elections. She expects state voting rules to change to accommodate that.
But these new styles of voting require more legwork on the town’s part, she said.
“What we used to do 10 years ago has changed,” Wordell said. “What we’re going to see is people voting by mail. So, what we need to see is more people at those locations. There’s a lot more work involved in elections with mail-in and early voting.”
In 2020, 82 percent of Hudson’s 14,000 eligible voters turned out. About 6,000 of those individuals cast absentee, early, and/or mail-in ballots.
Hudson High School is large enough on its own to accommodate up to three precincts, Wordell said.
She added, “Other communities, like the town of Burlington, have seven precincts and one polling location.”
Citizens will be notified by mail if their voting precinct changes. Residents can also verify their voting location at the Massachusetts Secretary of the Commonwealth’s website.
By law, precincts must be equal in population but not necessarily in size.
That means that according to Hudson’s most recent census population of 20,092, the target for each precinct is 3,349 persons. Precincts are limited to a maximum of 4,000.
The precinct re-draw usually takes place in July, but COVID-19 delayed the process to the fall.
The precinct map went to the state Local Elections District Review Commission for final approval following approval the Select Board last month.
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