By SCOTT JACKSON
City councillors on Monday unanimously approved a new ward and precinct map for Quincy, which will take effect starting next year.
The map will next be sent to state officials for final approval, City Clerk Nicole Crispo said Monday. By getting the map into the state before the end of October, state lawmakers will be able to use the new ward and precinct lines when they draw up legislative and congressional districts, she explained.
Some 16,500 Quincy residents, including 4,500 registered voters, will switch precincts or wards once the new maps come into effect, Crispo said during the council meeting. Those residents who will be impacted will get notices in the mail ahead of the September 2022 state primary election, which is the first election scheduled to take place under the new map. (The ward and precinct lines first put in place in 2011 will be used for next month’s municipal election.)
Crispo had first presented the new map to the Board of Registrars on Sept. 28, and the board approved it in a unanimous vote. The public had been invited to comment on the map at that meeting.
Earlier this year, Crispo told city councillors additional precincts may be needed given Quincy’s population growth over the past decade. No new precincts were added, however.
“Our elections are busy, busier than ever,” Crispo explained at the registrars meeting. “We have over 64,000 voters in the city. There are options available and people are taking advantage of them as far as early voting, in-person voting, absentee voting.
“So, we didn’t feel that this was necessarily the time to be adding precincts, especially where it is so hard to find polling places and staff to work on Election Day.”
The city will actually lose one precinct, moving from 31 back to 30, next year. Ward 2, Precinct 3A – which includes a single tower within the housing complex at 1000 Southern Artery – will be folded into Ward 2, Precinct 2.
The new precinct map was unveiled about a month and a half after the federal government released community-level data from the 2020 census that found Quincy’s population had grown to 101,636, up from 92,271 in 2010.
The 30 new precincts each have a target population of 3,388 residents and are allowed to vary by up to 5 percent in each direction – meaning the minimum population of each is 3,219 and the maximum population is 3,557.
Crispo on Monday said the map was drawn starting at the city limits and working inward.
“We did try to work on the edges of our community, all around the water and around the Blue Hills, and come into the middle and that is how we came to this map, and I think it is a good map,” she said.
“I’m really proud of it. I think that you have your diverse sections, you have your neighborhoods all still intact.”
City Council President Nina Liang thanked Crispo and her staff for the work they put into both the 2020 federal census and the reprecincting effort.
“I know well before the census came out in 2020, well before the pandemic, there was lots of planning that you had put into all of this and obviously having to adjust for that during the pandemic, making sure that everyone was counted, I think it is an incredible feat to be able to get these kind of results in – to know that we have now exceeded 100,000 folks here in the city,” Liang said.
“Certainly there are some folks that still aren’t counted, but just to see the increase in numbers and the accuracy of the work you have produced – I said this to you before in private but I certainly love this opportunity to say ‘I don’t know how you did it.’ I am exceptionally proud of the work you have put out for this city, so thank you so much.”