Tewksbury will remain wholly in the Massachusetts Sixth congressional district, represented by Seth Moulton (D-MA)

Tewksbury will remain wholly in the Massachusetts Sixth congressional district, represented by Seth Moulton (D-MA), as proposed redistricting changes were scrapped. (Image courtesy Secretary of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts)

TEWKSBURY — Concerns by Tewksbury town officials about the impacts of redistricting on representation and the electoral process for the community were al­leviated slightly last week when a proposal to break Tewksbury into two Con­gressional House districts was scrapped.

Initial plans to adjust the Congressional district boun­dary lines such that a significant portion of Tewks­bury would be moved to the Third Congressional Dis­trict, represented by Con­gresswo­man Lori Trahan, were met with strong opposition from town leaders.

Tewksbury Town Clerk Denise Graffeo and Town Manager Richard Montuori expressed concerns about the proposed plan, which were shared with the Spe­cial Joint Committee on Redis­tricting through Tewks­bury’s legislative delegation. Tewksbury is represented in the Massachu­setts legislature by Repre­sen­tative Dave Robertson (D-Wilmington), Represen­tative Tram Nguyen (D-An­dover), and State Senator Barry Finegold (D-Andover).

Due to the Oct. 21, 2021 vote in the legislature for redistricting at the local level, Tewksbury was split into three legislative districts, a change that brings Lowell’s Vanna Howard (D-Lowell) in to represent a portion of the northern quadrant of Tewksbury.

As a result of the local redistricting, no majority of Tewksbury voters reside in any of the three districts: 18th Essex, 19th Middlesex and 17th Middlesex. Fur­ther, new voting precincts had to be created by the town clerk’s office to handle the split to accommodate those parts of town that have a boundary drawn through them. This impacts state elections.

Montuori and Graffeo contacted Tewksbury’s current legislative delegation: “As we have previously communicated to you relative to the House of Representa­tives Districts, we are ex­tremely concerned about the integrity of elections.  In order to avoid unnecessary split precincts which will cause voter confusion and additional costs to the town, amongst countless logistical issues, we ask that you reach out to the members of the Special Joint Commit­tee on Redistricting and request that the 2020 boundary lines that have been done at the local level be utilized to form the Con­gressional Districts.”

Using the maps as a guide, Graffeo contends that 2010 boundary lines were used to define districts, not 2020 boundaries as calculated by the town and the Secretary of State’s office special task force.

The communication went on to explain that “this proposal will result in four different ballots in a state/federal election and three split precincts.” Tewksbury officials estimate that in­creased costs will be in­curred due to additional pol­ling staff, ballot printing, and ballot processing re­quirements.

The reversal means that Tewksbury will remain whol­ly in the Massachusetts Sixth federal congressional district represented by Seth Moulton (D-MA) in Washington, DC.

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