Lines on a map seem simple enough to draw, but in the case of redistricting, a small mistake could lead to some people being represented by the wrong legislator. That’s what happened this year when the registrar of voters made a minor error, sending 165 Darien voters into Democratic State Rep. William Tong’s Stamford district when they should have stayed in Republican State Rep. Terrie Wood’s district.
The state informed Darien last Thursday that its redrawn map, approved by the town and the Representative Town Meeting, included an error. Tom Dunn, the town’s Democratic registrar, told the Board of Selectmen at its Monday, Sept. 10, meeting that his office checked the map five or six times and thought it was thoroughly vetted to send to Hartford.
“I don’t have the faintest idea how it happened,” Dunn told the board. “Somehow we missed this little glitch on the map.”
The area affected is the northwest corner of town and includes seven streets — Hunt Road, Sherry Lane, Crooked Mile Road, Timber Lane and Rockwell Lane — all of which will now be in RTM District 1 instead of 3. Residents on these streets will also again be represented by Rep. Wood. Some Inwood Road and Hollow Tree Ridge Road residents were also moved back into District 1.
The change affects voting locations for the upcoming presidential, state and local elections. Dunn said he will send out two letters to each registered voter to ensure they show up to the proper voting location this November.
“It’s not a major problem, but it’s a little bit of headache,” said Dunn, who has previously decided to not seek reelection this fall.
This year’s presidential and senate primaries saw several Darienites heading to the wrong polling place after the redistricting changed voting locations for hundreds of residents. This year’s redistricting process, which happens every 10 years, has not been a simple one, according to Town Clerk Donna Rajczewski.
The idea behind using registered voters is to have each RTM district with roughly the same number of voters. After correcting the redistricting error, the number of registered voters in each district breaks down as follows: District 1, 2,129 voters; District 2, 2,088; District 3, 1,982; District 4, 2,009; District 5, 2,102; District 6, 2,116. Four districts have 17 RTM members and two have 16, Dunn said.
The first vote that featured the new districts was the April Presidential Primary, but the RTM’s new districting wouldn’t be affected until the November election, when half of the town’s legislative body is up for election.
Along with the shuffling of districts, the polling places for Districts 6 and 2 have switched locations. District 6 voters now vote at Town Hall, and District 2 voters go to Tokeneke School. Town Hall is outside of District 6, but it was chosen because there is “no suitable site for voting” within its borders, Dunn said.
All other polling locations remain the same — District 1, Ox Ridge School; District 3, Holmes School; District 4, Hindley School; and District 5, the high school. However, these districts also have new borders.
“Districts 3, 5 and 1 have undergone substantial changes while 6 experienced moderate changes,” Dunn wrote in an email to The Darien Times. The recent error further changes the borders.
Questions about which district you are now in should be directed to the Darien registrar of voters office at 203-656-7316 or email firstname.lastname@example.org For a map of the new districts after the error correction, visit Darientimes.com