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Wednesday, April 13, 2022

Major changes made to Charlestown's electoral map

You might find you now live in a different precinct

By Will Collette

After every US Census, electoral maps change to reflect changes in population. All of Rhode Island's maps have changed ranging from Congressional districts down to municipal precincts to make each political geographical entity roughly equal in population.

Charlestown continues to have four precincts. To the left is the old map done after the 2010 Census. The most conservative of these precincts is Precinct 0503 (yellow), the stronghold of the Charlestown Citizens Alliance. 

The two North of One precincts, 0501 (red) and 0502 (green) tend to vote more progressively, favoring Democrats.

The newly adopted electoral map for Charlestown (right) reflects the changes in population. 

The 2nd Precinct (green) appears largely unchanged. 

The 1st Precinct (red) took some land and people from the 4th Precinct (blue) and gave up a lot of land and people to the 3rd precinct (yellow).

What this means to you is that you might find yourself in a new precinct. That will probably require you to go to a different polling place to vote.

Charlestown does not have single-member districts where there is a town council member specifically elected from your precinct.

De facto, the CCA's senior Council member Bonnie Van Slyke represents her neighborhood of Arnolda first, the CCA's interests second following distantly by the needs of everyone else.

CCA Councilor Denise Rhodes represented her neighborhood in Precinct 1, near the old Copar Quarry first above all else. Rhodes dropped off the Council.

In my opinion, Charlestown should consider a Charter change to move to single-member districts, with a fifth at-large (i.e. town wide) Council seat. This would end the charade played by the CCA that they represent everyone when they have historically favored residents South of One, especially wealthy summer people.

Expect to receive a new voter card from the town Board of Canvassers which will tell you what precinct you are in so that you can figure out where to vote.