Saturday December 15, 2012

BRATTLEBORO -- A statewide initiative by the Legislature to redraw district lines around the state had only a minor impact on the number, and configuration, of seats for Brattleboro’s Representative Town Meeting.

The Legislature tackles redistricting every 10 years, and they took up the issue during the last session after updated census data were released which forced lawmakers to change border lines to balance representation in the districts.

Brattleboro ended up with the same number of representatives -- three -- and the legislators are still representing the same neighborhoods.

But a minor change in how the line was drawn separating District One from District Three shifted a seat to District Three when the line was shifted to the west.

The decision to shift district lines is based on the number of registered voters.

The population has not changed much, Town Clerk Annette Cappy said, but the number of registered voters has increased.

Cappy said the reapportionment took place just before a presidential election, when the number of registered voters historically goes up, so each of three districts picked up seats and town meeting next year will be a little more crowded.

District one had 45 seats, but picked up three to go to 48 seats.

In districts two and three the number of registered voters increased as well and the number of seats jumped from 42 in 45 in each of those two districts.


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And while the change increased the number of reps, only a single house of a sitting rep was affected by the change.

The line used to run along Interstate 91 and then down Upper Dummerston Road.

The new line goes down Orchard Street and it shifted Kathy Urffer’s residence from District One into District Three.

If a special town meeting is called before the planned March meeting, Urffer would vote for her former district.

And if she wants to run again in 2013 she would run for a seat in District Three

The Selectboard members officially approved the changes at their last meeting.

Brattleboro’s District 1 has 19 seats open next year.

District 2 has 22, while District 3 voters will elect 19 members.

The seats run for one, two, or three years.

Current town meeting representatives have until Jan. 21 to let the town clerk know if they plan to run again for their seat.

All candidates for representative town meeting have until Jan. 28 to hand in a petition with at least 10 signatures to run for a seat in the March 5.

Brattleboro’s Representative Town Meeting is scheduled for Saturday, March 23.

Howard Weiss-Tisman can be reached at 802-254-2311, ext. 279, or hwtisman@reformer.com.