The Haverhill City Clerk’s office is preparing the public for this fall’s elections that may be muddled by new polling places for some, introduction of sub precincts and changes to legislative districts for others.
All of the changes come as a result of redistricting plans by the Massachusetts House and Senate last year. One of the stranger shifts sees a small number of River Street residents in Ward 7, Precinct 2, having to go across the river to vote. Haverhill City Clerk Linda L. Koutoulas told city councilors during recent budget talks. She had few, workable options.
“If I did a sub-precinct, there are so few votes, you could probably tell how they voted. That’s really what we want to avoid,” she said.
While Secretary of State William F. Galvin’s office recently mailed residents with notices of changes, Koutoulas said her office is also planning some outreach.
“We’ll reach out to some of these small pockets. There are a couple of very small areas where the state didn’t do right by them and, but I wanted to access them directly, she told councilors.
There was one error in the state mailing. Koutoulas said a special effort is being made to mail postcards to residents of Ward 5, Precinct 1 and Ward 5 Precinct 1a. They will vote at Julian Steele senior housing at 772 Washington St.
Koutoulas said new polling locations are Veterans Northeast Outreach Center, 10 Reed St., for voters in Ward 1, Precinct 1, and the Presidential Gardens’ community room, 140 Evergreen Drive, Bradford, for Voters in Ward 7, Precinct 1. She said the city considered using the building housing Somebody Cares New England as a polling location, but there were access issues.
Voters in 7-1 formerly went to Bradford Elementary School. That location will be used by residents in 7-3 and the new 7-3A sub-precinct. Some next-door neighbors along Harding and Leonard Avenues will vote in different locations because the legislature split the area across two representative districts.
All voters will receive robocalls, reminding them of their voting locations.