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MassGIS Data: 2022 Wards and Precincts

November 2023

Wards and Precincts (voting districts) for Massachusetts cities and towns. Voting resources, including your voting location along with ward and precinct, can be found on the Secretary of the Commonwealth’s website.

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Overview

Precincts are geographic areas used by governments for elections.  In Massachusetts, precincts are combined into wards, which are usually used to define local election districts.  Only cities have both wards and precincts; municipalities designated as towns contain one or more precincts and no wards.  All precincts associated with a given ward fit entirely within that ward and provide full geographic coverage of the ward’s area.  All wards and precincts associated with a given city fit entirely within that city and provide full geographic coverage of the city’s area.

MassGIS obtained ward, precinct, and sub-precinct data from the Secretary of the Commonwealth’s Office in September 2022 and performed a minimal set of standardization edits on it. The layer includes population values from the 2020 U.S. Census Redistricting File (Public Law 94-171) Dataset.

The layer is named WARDSPRECINCTS2022_POLY

Production

Voting precincts for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts were established based on the 2020 Decennial Census by each municipality and approved by the Local Election Districts Review Commission (LEDRC) in accordance with state law.

These data reflect the statewide change in population for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts based on the 2020 Decennial Census.  New precinct and ward lines established by each municipality have been reviewed and approved by the LEDRC in accordance with the procedures set forth in state law.  This dataset represents those precincts and wards approved by the LEDRC being passed to the State Legislature for Redistricting.

Integrity tests have been performed by the Secretary of the Commonwealth’s Office using Caliper* Maptitude, a geographic information system specifically designed to support topological integrity checks while using the 2021 US Census Bureau TIGER (Topologically Integrated Geographic Encoding and Referencing system) Line Files.  These TIGER Line Files have also been used to verify geographic completeness of the ward and precinct data produced by the Massachusetts Secretary of the Commonwealth for 2021 Re-Precincting.

MassGIS re-projected this data from its initial decimal degrees into the Massachusetts State Plane NAD83 Mainland (Meters) projection.  Additionally, the data has been clipped with a representation of coastline derived from the 2021 Census Bureau TIGER Line File “faces” data in Massachusetts, using the LWFLG attribute (see Appendix Q in the technical documentation) to remove coastal water polygons.  A small number of areas were re-incorporated back into the data where Census tabulation blocks classified as being entirely water also had non-zero populations recorded, indicative of “transitory units” like boats and RVs.  This coastline is consistent in appearance with other Census geography-related GIS data made available by MassGIS, including legislative boundaries for the House Districts and the Senate Districts.  It is acknowledged that discrepancies can exist in the US Census data line work and other non-Census geography-related GIS data distributed by MassGIS, especially along the coastline.

Distribution Liability Statement

No warranty expressed or implied is made regarding the accuracy or utility of the data outside of the system it was processed on, or for general, political, or demographic purposes, nor shall the act of distribution constitute any such warranty. It is also recommended that attention be paid to the metadata associated with these data to evaluate data set limitations, restrictions or intended use. Neither the Massachusetts Secretary of the Commonwealth nor the Massachusetts Bureau of Geographic Information (MassGIS) shall be held liable for improper or incorrect use of the data described and/or contained herein.  Please confirm that you are using the most recent copy of both data and metadata.  Users of this data should not modify its contents to misrepresent the information contained within.

Questions about the wards and precincts data should be directed to ma2020census@sec.state.ma.us.

Attributes

 The Wards and Precincts layer's polygon attribute table contains the following fields:

WARD

Ward identifier (cities only) of the voting district.  If no ward present, this value is empty.

PRECINCT Precinct identifier of the voting district.
WP_DISTRICT Name of voting district.  Comprised of either a concatenation of Ward and Precinct (cities only) or just the Precinct value if no Ward present. Note: Amherst and Braintree are the only communities with standalone precinct values comprised of a number and an alpha character where the first value is not considered a ward.
WP_NAME

Standardized Ward-Precinct voting district name that includes city/town name and the keyword “Precinct”, and “Ward” where wards are present.

TOWN Name of city or town that the Ward-Precinct voting district is associated with.
TOWN_ID

MassGIS city/town ID (1-351) assigned to the TOWN.

POP_2020 The 2020 population count in the Ward-Precinct voting district.  These population counts are aggregated from the voting district’s constituent Census Blocks as recorded by the US Census Bureau in its PL94-171 data from the 2020 Decennial Census.
AREA_SQMI

Area of the Ward-Precinct voting district in square miles.

PERIMETER_MILES

Perimeter of the Ward-Precinct voting district in miles.

 

Maintenance

This ward and precinct data is maintained by the Secretary of the Commonwealth’s Office.  Any approved updates will be made available as needed, and the metadata will be updated to reflect them.

This layer was updated in November 2023 to eliminate the area of Groton subprecinct 3A in precinct 3 that was merged into precinct 1,  based on this legislation: https://malegislature.gov/Laws/SessionLaws/Acts/2023/Chapter45.
 

    Last updated: November 7, 2023

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