Split by 2 House districts, city’s precinct map back on drawing board

Staff Writer
Published: 11/22/2021 4:37:11 PM
Modified: 11/22/2021 4:36:56 PM

GREENFIELD — At the city’s request, the state is reviewing the precinct map in an effort to better align it with the House of Representatives district map legislators approved last month, which left Greenfield split between two districts.

“When the Legislature voted to split Greenfield, they used the 2010 precinct map, not the 2020 precinct map,” City Clerk Kathy Scott told councilors in a meeting last week. “In terms of talking about split precincts, it’s easier for me to tell you the number of precincts that would not be affected.”

Precincts 1, 2 and 5 would remain intact, she said, while the other six precincts would be split between districts.

Last month, City Council approved the city’s new precinct map. In that same week — despite opposition from residents and local officials — legislators approved the redistricting map, leaving Greenfield divided between the 1st Franklin and 2nd Franklin districts that are currently represented by state Rep. Natalie Blais, D-Sunderland, and Rep. Susannah Whipps, I-Athol, respectively.

“I reached back out to the (Secretary of State) census division, because the governor has signed an allowance that if a community has split precincts … if we wanted to look at our map again, we have the opportunity,” Scott said.

Scott said in speaking with state officials to ask that they review the precincts again — following the line the Legislature used to split the community — she expressed two desires: avoiding split precincts, and ensuring seated and elected councilors remain in their respective precincts.

“If we do have (split precincts), we have to buy additional election machines, and that’s just the big cost,” Scott said.

With a deadline of Dec. 15 to notify the state of new precinct boundaries, City Council plans to hold a special meeting prior to Committee Chairs on Dec. 7 to review a new map.

“With the assistance of the census division,” Scott told councilors, “we will probably be able to come up with a better solution for our precincts than we have currently, and by currently, I mean the map you approved last month.”

Reporter Mary Byrne can be reached at mbyrne@recorder.com or 413-930-4429. Twitter: @MaryEByrne


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