Voters in six Needham precincts may have a new polling location thanks to population changes recorded in the 2010 U.S. Census.
On Tuesday, Town Clerk Tedi Eaton presented a new precinct map to selectmen. The map includes minor changes in the boundaries of precincts B, C. F, G, H and I. Four of the precincts—A, D, E and J—have no changes.
The precinct amendments do not affect school districting, Selectman Jerry Wasserman said.
Selectmen are required to notify everyone whose precinct has changed, Eaton said. The town clerk will be notifying residents of several changes in voting procedure when she sends out the town census this year—including the fact that precinct C and D voters will not be voting at this year because of renovations.
With unanimous approval from selectmen on Tuesday, Eaton will submit the new precinct map to the commonwealth for certification.
Once the state approves new precincts for all 351 cities and towns across Massachusetts, all Needham Town Meeting members will have to run again for their seats at the next town election, Eaton said. Candidates will not run for specific term lengths but will be elected as follows: The top third vote-getters will receive a three-year term, the second third will receive a two-year term and the bottom third will receive a one-year term.
Eaton said a similar process was used the last time the precinct boundaries were redrawn.
At the time of the 2010 U.S. Census, Needham’s population was at 28,886—a slight decrease from the 2000 federal census, which counted 28,911 Needham residents.
According to the 2010 Census, the population by precinct is as follows:
Eaton said the process of re-drawing the precinct maps was much easier this time around than it was after the last federal census a decade ago. What was once drawn by hand can now be done on the computer.
“I remember 10 to 12 years ago drawing [precinct lines] with a pencil down the street…” Eaton told selectmen.