Independent board has key oversight role in municipal reprecincting process
BOSTON – House Minority Leader Bradley H. Jones, Jr. (R-North Reading) has been appointed by Governor Charlie Baker to serve on the Local Election Districts Review Commission, an independent commission responsible for overseeing, supervising and approving the divisions of the Commonwealth’s cities and towns into wards and precincts.
With the completion of the 2020 federal Census, Massachusetts is now moving forward with plans to redraw its House, Senate, Governor’s Council and Congressional districts, a process that occurs every 10 years to address shifts in population. As part of this process, cities and towns are required to use the latest Census figures to reconfigure local wards and precincts to reflect these population changes, with statewide districts configured after the local wards and precincts are in place.
Under current statute, cities and towns must submit their completed reprecincting proposals to the Local Election Districts Review Commission through the Secretary of State’s office. The commission is responsible for reviewing and approving these proposals to ensure they comply with all applicable state and federal laws and Constitutional requirements.
The commission has the power to reject any submitted plans and direct the municipality to prepare a new plan, but must clearly delineate in writing its reasons for rejecting the plan and identify the specific deficiencies that need to be corrected. If a community does not submit a plan or fails to comply with the commission’s request to redraw a previously submitted plan, the commission can make the changes itself, or appoint a master to make those changes, with the municipality required to pay these costs.
“Voting is a fundamental right, and the decennial reprecincting and redistricting process is critical to ensuring equal representation for all Massachusetts voters,” said Representative Jones. “I am honored to be appointed to this commission by Governor Baker, and I look forward to working with my colleagues to help lay the groundwork for the electoral maps that will be used for Massachusetts’ elections over the next 10 years.”
As the Governor’s appointee, Jones is one of three members serving on the commission. The Attorney General and Secretary of State will appoint the other two members.