Springfield redistricting causes difficulties for voters

Western Mass News is getting answers after recent redistricting has caused some people to show up at the wrong polling place.
Published: Nov. 8, 2022 at 6:16 PM EST
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SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WGGB/WSHM) - Hundreds of thousands of Massachusetts residents headed to the polls Tuesday to cast their votes in the midterm election.

Western Mass News is getting answers after recent redistricting has caused some people to show up at the wrong polling place.

When some people showed up to what they would call their usual polling place, they may have found that their name was not on the list.

We spoke with one voter and a district ward who told Western Mass News how voters are navigating redistricting.

Voters in Springfield might have shown up to the wrong polling places on Tuesday. This is because some legislative district lines have changed based on the 2021 federal census, and this may have switched up where you cast your ballot.

Springfield resident Ann Walsh told Western Mass News that when she showed up to vote at the Warner School, they told her to go to Mary Lynch School, and when she got there, she was not provided with the right ballot.

“They were having trouble finding our names. They weren’t on the list. Mine, they finally found on another list. Then, when they were looking at it, they said you can’t vote,” Walsh said. “One of the ones that was in charge over there came over and said that our group didn’t have the complete voting package.”

Western Mass News is getting answers. We spoke with Ward 8 City Councilor Zaida Govan who told Western Mass News that the confusion at the polls may have been a product of redistricting.

“I remember getting a notice from the election commission telling me that my voting location had changed and it was going to be at Pine Point now,” Councilor Govan said. “So, I can imagine that some people were confused if they didn’t read the notice or they didn’t get the notice.”

Walsh added that the confusion at the polling places made the voting experience difficult.

“The one with the name of all the people we were supposed to vote for was missing and it just had one sheet for the questions,” Walsh told us. “We said, ‘What are we going to do now?’ They said, ‘Well you can’t stay here because there are too many people and we can’t have all these people just waiting.’”

Councilor Govan said that for those people who are dealing with any confusion at the polls, there is a way you can ensure that your vote is counted.

“If they aren’t able to find their voting location today, they can ask for a provisional vote, meaning that they’ll get a vote and they’ll be able to vote provisionally until they confirm where their voting location might be,” Councilor Govan explained. “That way, they will not have wasted their time.”

If you are still struggling to find out where your polling place is, you can head over to mass.gov. They have a link where you can type in your information to find your polling place.