The West Hartford Town Council voted unanimously Tuesday night to consolidate the town's 20 existing voting districts into nine districts.
The reduction will save approximately $20,000, but will also align the town's districts to track with changes made to the state legislative districts as a result of the 2010 census. Each of the town's state house seats will now contain three districts.
The new district polling places, which have been agreed to by Registrars of Voters from both parties, are:
Under the new plan, District #9 will have the least number of voters with 3,266, while the most voters, 5,065, reside in District #3. In the past, voting precincts ranged in size from 750 at to 3,000 voters at , said Clare Kindall, chair of the Town Council's administration and technology committee which crafted the plan for the revised districts.
Democratic Registrar of Voters Dr. Carolyn Thornberry, who worked cooperatively with Republican Registrar of Voters Eleanor Brazell, presented a summary of the process at Tuesday night's Council meeting.
Thornberry said that Geographical Information Systems (GIS) was used in the in creating the new districts. "Our goal in creating the voting districts was to make sure that when the legislature redistricted house seats, each town district was completely included in the same legislative district. You don’t actually have to do that," Thornberry said.
Use of GIS also allowed voter turnout history to be used as a factor in the determination of districts. When previous districts were drawn, that was not considered, Thornberry said.
The West Hartford Commission on Persons with Disabilities was also consulted regarding the selection of polling places, to ensure that their criteria were met.
Kindall said that the administration and technology committee had received a request from Carole Mulready of the League of Women Voters, asking that the approved sites allow for easy access and plenty of parking. Kindall said that the chosen sites comply with this request. The League of Women Voters will also audit the selected polling places before and during upcoming elections and will provide constructive criticism, Kindall said.
The new polling places will be used for the April 24 Republican Presidential primary. Registered voters for that election will be notified in advance of their new polling place, and all voters will be notified prior to the fall elections.
A "Where do I vote?" interactive feature will also be added to the Town of West Hartford website.