A key civic engagement goal for MPDC this year has been to make it easier for our Smith House residents to vote. Despite there being a polling location at adjacent Haynes House, Smith House residents have had to vote in John Eliot Square because there is a precinct line that runs down Ruggles Street that puts these two housing developments in different voting locations. After much advocacy from Smith House residents and the RoxVote Coalition, the Election Department has decided to allow Smith House residents to vote at Haynes House! Special thanks to Election Commissioner Dion Irish for making this happen and our Civic Engagement Coordinator Ed Shoemaker for his work on this effort, including lobbying Mayor Walsh and City Council President Michelle Wu.
Here are some of President Wu’s notes from a recent hearing:
Yesterday we got into the numbers of voter access across the city at a hearing on reprecincting, hosted by the Boston City Council’s Committee on City & Neighborhood Services and its Chairman Tim McCarthy. Boston Election Department Commissioner Dion Irish shared data on uneven precinct sizes that have developed from population shifts in the 50 years since Boston last adjusted precinct boundaries, as well as the process for potentially addressing some of these issues before this year’s municipal elections. In addition to the great testimony from residents and representatives of The RoxVote Coalition, Chinese Progressive Association, and Fort Point Neighborhood Association, we were treated to a presentation by former City Council President Larry DiCara.
The Election Commission is also responding to residents in Roxbury, where 100 seniors live across the street from a polling place, but because that street is the precinct boundary, they have to travel much further to get to their assigned polling place. They will adjust the boundary between Ward 9, Precincts 4 & 5.