Newton's Ward 2 is set to become bigger as the city adjusts its electoral maps to reflect the 2010 census, according to city officials.
"The plan is to expand the size of the ward, taking some space to the south from Ward 6 and to the west from Ward 3," said David Olson, city clerk and clerk of the city's Re-Precincting Committee. "This is to reflect changes in the population of the ward, which is home to Newton North High School."
According to the 2010 census, Newton's population was 85,146, up from 83,829 in 2000. Olson said the changes were spread evenly across most areas of the city.
However, expanding the borders of Ward 2 will allow the Re-Precincting Committee to finally balance the numbers of precincts in each ward, a change requested by the state for decades. Under the current system, Ward 2 has three precincts, while all other wards have four.
"Over the last few census cycles, the state has suggested that we make all of our wards have an equal number of precincts," Olson said. "We considered making every Ward have three precincts, but currently our plan has Ward 2 gaining a precinct."
An extra precinct means another polling place in the district, so Ward 2 voters will have a shorter distance to travel during elections. Olson said that the Re-Precincting Committee had not made any decisions as to where polling places will be.
"We don't anticipate any other big changes to the current setup," Olson said. "None of our current elected officials will be displaced by the changes being made."
Olson said that interested citizens could attend the next meeting of the Re-Precincting Committee on May 16, and that amended precinct maps would be available in the City Clerk's office after that date.
The final plan for Newton's Wards and precincts needs to be voted on by the Board of Aldermen and turned into the state by June 15.
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