Reprecincting

What is Reprecincting?

Every ten years after the Federal Census is complete, new ward and precinct boundary lines are drawn to reflect changes in the City’s population and to anticipate the needs of the City’s election system for the next decade.

Voting precincts established by a city or town must meet the following requirements:

  • Each new precinct must be “composed of compact and contiguous territory” without protruding fingers or long tails to the extent possible.
  • Precincts must be bounded by the center-line of streets or other well defined boundaries such as streams or other bodies of water, railroad tracks, power lines or other clearly visible geographic figures.
  • No precinct may contain more than 4,000 residents.
  • Every precinct’s population must be within five percent (5%) of the average precinct population for that ward or town.
  • Ward populations must be within five percent (5%) of the average ward population for the city.
  • Redrawn ward and precinct boundaries must not result in the dilution of minority group members' votes

Cambridge Reprecincting Proposal - Updated October 14th

The population of Cambridge increased from 105,162 in 2010 to 118,403 in the 2020 Census, however the changes were not evenly distributed throughout the city. Some precincts increased dramatically in population, while others stayed the same or decreased. With 33 precincts, each precinct must have a population within 5% of 3,588. Any change that is made in one precinct has a cascading effect on the entire map as other precincts will need to be adjusted to keep the population of every precinct within that range. 

The Board of Election Commissioners met on Wednesday, October 6, 2021 to hear public comment and to consider the written comments that had been submitted. A new draft map was produced on Thursday, October 7 taking public comment into account. Changes were made to Wards 10 and 11, and precincts in wards 2, 3 and 5 were renumbered to address the concerns presented by the public.

Public comment on the October 7 map was very positive, with only one change needed. The Election Commission voted on October 13th to approve the updated map, which is posted below. The next step is to submit the reprecincting plan to the Local Election District Review Commission (LEDRC), who will vote to accept or reject the plan. 

Proposed Ward and Precinct Map - Updated October 13th

2020 Population by Census Block Map

2011 - 2021 Ward and Precinct Map (currently in place)

The Board of Election Commissioners took a number of factors into consideration in creating this proposal, in addition to public comment, such as minimizing the number of voters who need to cross major thoroughfares in order to vote and keeping most voters in the same precincts whenever possible. It should be noted that reprecincting changes will not take effect until the 2022 elections. Some of the current polling locations may be changed in 2022 in order to better accommodate voters under the new map. 

Written comments or questions can be sent by email to elections@cambridgema.gov or by mail to 51 Inman Street, Cambridge, MA 02139.

Redistricting

The State Legislature is responsible for creating new State Representative, State Senate, and Congressional districts. Proposed plans for State Representative districts and State Senate districts can be found online at:

https://malegislature.gov/Redistricting/ProposedDistricts/House

https://malegislature.gov/Redistricting/ProposedDistricts/Senate

The Special Joint Committee on Redistricting will hold a hearing to provide the public with the opportunity to comment on the draft State Senate and State House maps on Friday, October 15th at 1pm: https://malegislature.gov/Events/Hearings/Detail/4028

The committee will accept public comment on the proposed plans until Monday, October 18th at 5pm. 

 

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