Shrewsbury approves draft changes to voting, town meeting precincts

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By Laura Hayes, Senior Community Reporter

Election workers sit behind registration booths on voting day, May 4, 2021.
Election workers sit behind registration booths on voting day, May 4, 2021. (Photo/Laura Hayes)

SHREWSBURY – Some Shrewsbury residents may have new voting precincts next year under new draft re-precincting plans approved by the Board of Selectmen during their Oct. 26 meeting

Selectman Maurice DePalo thanked Town Clerk Sharyn Thomas and GIS Coordinator Dan McCullen for their work. 

“I know how hard this is to do,” DePalo said. “It’s not as easy as just moving a street here and there. You have to look with the census blocks that are given to you by the government … which makes it really complicated.”

The maps were originally presented to the selectmen during their Oct. 12 meeting. 

According to Town Manager Kevin Mizikar, municipalities are asked to examine their voting boundaries every 10 years based on voting data from the census. State law, he said, limits precincts to 4,000 people. 

According to a memo from Thomas to the selectmen, the census indicated that Shrewsbury’s population increased from 35,608 to 38,325 between 2010 and 2020. 

 

Town meeting representation

During that Oct. 12 meeting, selectmen discussed various ways the different drafts would affect voters.

At that time, Thomas said staff attempted to keep the boundaries unchanged where possible, allowing voters to stay with their familiar precincts. 

Selectman Theresa Flynn asked if the changes would affect the number of Town Meeting members.

“It does not,” Thomas said. “[There’s] 240 Town Meeting members. It will just be recalculated over the precincts based on the populations under the new precincts.” 

 

Approved map

During this more recent Oct. 26 meeting, Thomas said that the new plan would still contain 10 precincts, though nine will have changes to their borders. Precinct three is the only one that will remain unchanged. 

Shrewsbury’s Town Meeting members are elected by voters. Six precincts will have about 24 Town Meeting members, while two will have 23 and two will have 25, Thomas said.

She said staff made some of their decisions with planned developments at Edgemere Crossing at Flint Pond in mind. 

This map remained a draft as of the first week of November, pending state approval. The state will have the opportunity to approve or request changes to Shrewsbury’s new map. 

That review process will occur over the next several weeks. The map will be posted on the town’s website once it has been approved by the state.

 

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