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Boston City Council Discusses Ward Changes for Elections

The City of Boston election department is considering developing sub-precincts in an effort to create more efficient and smoother election days.

Boston City Council held a hearing this week to discuss the possibility of creating these new sub-precincts.

According to Commissioner of Election Department Dion Irish, there are some major population disparities within different wards of the city. Some have a high number of voters while others do not. The ones facing the high number of voters often deal with long waiting lines at polling locations.

There are several wards in which the election department wants to create sub-precincts. The first one is ward 3-06, displayed in the top image. This ward includes much of the downtown area and casts ballots at City Hall. In this ward there are currently 4,536 voters. The department wants to create two different precincts to divide up these voters. They would still vote at City Hall, but there would be two machines, instead of one, for each precinct to cast their ballots.

Another ward being considered for a change is ward 6-01, which is in the Seaport and has 5,817 voters. The department wants to create two precincts in this ward. The polling location would remain the same.

Map provided as part of the City of Boston Election Department Sub-Precinct Proposal.

“This is very urgent,” said Irish. “We would love to get this done now.”

The State House would have to approve the changes. The new sub-precincts would not change representation when it comes to councilors or state representatives.

Council President Andrea Campbell asked why the district only wants to change six wards currently.

“We prefer not to make changes if we don’t have to,” said Irish.

Irish said the districts they have chosen are a huge issue for the department and thought those would be a good place to start.

Irish also said he thinks the State House would be accommodating to approve the changes.

In the North End, State Representative Aaron Michlewitz, who represents the Third Suffolk District, has indicated re-precincting is one of his priorities this legislative session.

Read the full sub-precinct proposal on the City of Boston Election Department website and see maps of the proposed changes.