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City Council Pushes for New Voting Precincts, Wards

The council also took steps to reduce the number of injuries and deaths among young athletes with a proposed ordinance.

City councilors voted unanimously on Wednesday to petition the state Legislature to require the city to divide its precincts and wards equally based on population counts from the decennial census.

A state law has exempted Boston from restructuring its precincts and wards for the past 80 years, as the majority of other towns do, said Councilor Michael Ross.

Council President Stephen Murphy said that some Boston precincts have as many as 6,000 residents and others as few as 1,000.

Having the same number of people in each precinct, Ross said, would shorten lines at polling locations, thus encouraging more people to vote.

In addition, Murphy said the city might be able to cut the number of locations, staff and other Election Day resources and save hundreds of thousands of dollars over a decade. 

The state would have to approve the bill for it to take effect. If that were to happen, the city’s Board of Elections Commissioners would submit its plans for wards and precincts to the council for a vote in 2021 and every decade afterward.

In other council news:

The council took steps to reduce injuries among young athletes with a proposed ordinance. 

Councilor Murphy suggested the council adopt an ordinance that would require a clinician or athletic trainer to evaluate children who show signs or a head injury during a game or practice before allowing them to continue playing.

The ordinance, he said, would apply to activities that public and private schools, as well as leagues, sponsor.

Murphy said that he hoped the ordinance would reduce the number of injuries and deaths among children who have a concussion or other head injury during athletic activities.  

The council referred the proposal to its Committee on Government Operations, and Murphy said the council would hold a hearing about it.

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