Brookline officials are preparing to redraw the borders of its 16 precincts—which serve as the building blocks for the state’s congressional districts—as it gets the town's latest population data from the U.S. Census.
So-called “re-precincting” is required every 10 years under Massachusetts law and paves the way for the state to redraw its congressional districts. Massachusetts is set to lose one of its 10 congressional seats because of relatively slow population growth found in the 2010 census.
Town Clerk Pat Ward said the town has traditionally established a committee to do the technical work of redrawing the precincts, which must be of roughly approximate size and bordered by roads or other physical boundaries, before they’re approved by selectmen. The plan must be submitted to the Secretary of the Commonwealth by June 22, 2011.
“We’ve got a tight schedule,” Ward said.
Under state law, each precinct must contain no more than 4,000 residents and no precinct can have a population that is 5 percent larger or smaller than the town’s average precinct size. Precincts must also be bordered by the centerline of a street or another well-defined physical boundaries, including rivers, railroad tracks or major power lines.
That state also has several requirements meant prevent communities from diluting the voting power of minority groups through re-precincting.
Ward said it’s possible that some Brookline Town Meeting Members could lose a seat after the town redraws the precincts. He said the town is still waiting on data from the census.
Massachusetts’s new congressional and state legislative districts will be in place in time for the 2012 elections.