As a result of the 2020 census, the state was required to redraw districts, resulting in a realignment in West Hartford, where some new polling places will need to be established prior to the next election.
By Ronni Newton
To comply with the 2020 census, the state’s redistricting panel updated the boundaries of legislative districts, and those changes have impacted West Hartford where as of the next statewide election the town will have five – rather than three – state representatives.
Corporation Counsel Dallas Dodge said at a recent Town Council meeting that state and federal law requires districts to be redrawn every 10 years to be consistent with the census, with the process conducted by a bipartisan committee of members of the General Assembly.
While on the federal level West Hartford will remain in the 1st Congressional District (seat currently held by John Larson), and the entire town will remain in the 5th state Senate District (seat currently held by Derek Slap), the town will be impacted by a realignment of state House districts.
In addition to the 18th, 19th, and 20th Districts (seats currently held by Jillian Gilchrest, Tammy Exum, and Kate Farrar respectively), a small sector the northeastern part of West Hartford will become part of the 15th District (seat currently held by Bobby Gibson, who also represents Bloomfield and a portion of Windsor), and a slice of the southeast corner will become part of the 6th District (seat held by Edwin Vargas of Hartford).
As a result of the statewide realignment, the town needed to redraw its own districts, and did so with a bipartisan committee of Town Council members. Deputy Mayor Liam Sweeney chaired the committee and the other members were Democrat Adrienne Billings-Smith and Republicans Mark Zydanowicz and Alberto Cortes.
Both parties worked well together throughout the process, Sweeney told the Council, which unanimously approved the plan at its March 22 meeting.
“The big distinction in this map are the new lines, with us having two districts being split,” Sweeney said.
The state’s 18th House District will be comprised of West Hartford Districts 1B, 2, and 3. West Hartford Districts 4B and 5 will in the 20th District (which will also include a portion of Newington). And West Hartford Districts 6, 7, and 8 will comprise the 19th District (along with a portion of Avon).
The new districts are shown on the map above, and can also be viewed on a PDF below.
West Hartford reduced its number of polling places from 21 to nine as a result of the realignment 10 years ago, and as a result of the latest changes the town will have eight polling places.
District 1A and 1B, and 4A and 4B, will be physically at the same locations with separate entrances, with the specifics to be determined by the Registrars of Voters.
Prior to the next election, which could include a primary in the summer, there will also be a need to establish some new polling places, since several existing polling locations are now clustered in the same district. For example Braeburn Elementary School – one of the town’s historically busiest polling places – and Sedgwick Middle School are both in the town’s new 6th District, and both Conard High School and Wolcott Elementary School are in the town’s new 5th District.
West Hartford’s Democratic Town Committee and Republican Town Committee will also need to update their district structures to align with the town’s realigned districts.
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