Janesville47.5°

New polling places for many Janesville residents

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MARCIA A. NELESEN
July 15, 2011
— About half of Janesville’s residents will report to different polling places because of the 2010 census and subsequent redistricting.

The city also renumbered its wards to return No. 4 to what historically was the Fourth Ward.


After a census, the county creates county board supervisory districts. The city in turn redraws its wards.


The Janesville City Council on Monday approved creating 25 city wards, down from 32 wards now, City Clerk Jean Wulf said.


The city will keep the same number of polling places but move three with the goal of improving voter access, Wulf said.


Marshall Middle School and Jefferson and Wilson elementary schools will be eliminated as polling places and Rotary Gardens, Harmony Elementary School and City Hall will be added.


Those changes account for about 30 percent of the residents who will change polling places, Wulf said.


The city also renumbered the wards so the Fourth Ward neighborhood—the downtown area that goes by its old-time ward number—is once again Ward 4.


The ward was renumbered 16 in 2000 after a county request, Wulf said.


“The community requested that we change it back, and so we accommodated those requests,” Wulf told council members Monday.


Burdette Erickson, a Fourth Ward resident, said the name is part of the neighborhood’s identity and has historic significance.


“Our neighbors would like to thank Jean Wulf for listening to the public input in giving us the Fourth Ward back,” Erickson said. “We appreciate that.”


The city expects to spend about $5,000 to notify voters of their new polling places and to print new ward maps. It will also put signs at former polling places on voting day to direct any wayward resident to new polling places.


The county is redrawing its 29 county board supervisory districts to equally divide the county’s 160,331 residents. District populations would vary by about 3 percent, meaning each county board supervisor would represent 5,337 to 5,710 residents.


Under the new plan, 13 county board supervisors would represent Janesville, down from 14 now.


Seven of the redrawn county board districts are completely within Janesville. Six are a mix of city and adjoining townships. In shared districts, the city represents the majority of the population except for District 9, Wulf wrote in a memo.



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