Archive for the ‘Redistricting’ Category

Officials: Redistricting changes couldn’t be stopped

Friday, November 18th, 2011

November 18, 2011

BOSTON — Local politicians say they were powerless to change a new congressional map that separated Leominster into a different district from its neighboring cities of Fitchburg and Gardner.

The three cities are currently represented by U.S. Rep. John Olver of Amherst, who is retiring next year. The new plan moves Leominster to U.S. Rep. James McGovern’s Worcester-based district, while U.S. Rep Niki Tsongas of Lowell will represent Fitchburg and Gardner.

“We looked at it, myself and Sen. (Jennifer) Flanagan, to try and see if all of us could go within the Tsongas district or the McGovern one,” said state Rep. Stephen DiNatale, a Fitchburg Democrat. “But it’s very, very difficult, almost impossible.”

Flanagan, a Leominster Democrat, said she advocated before the map was drawn to keep the cities together. After it was released last Monday, she said it would have been too hard to change while keeping the populations in each district equal, a requirement of any potential changes to the map.

“If we were going to try to bring Leominster up into the district, it was going to be very hard to find 45,000 other people,” she said. “The state officials really did try.”

Gov. Deval Patrick will soon have the congressional redistricting plan on his desk, following final passage of the plan in the Legislature on Wednesday night.

Massachusetts lost one of its 10 congressional seats because of population shifts in the 2010 U.S. Census. Leominster, Fitchburg and Gardner have traditionally been in the same district, which local politicians said made sense because of similar demographics and political interests, including a regional transportation authority.

Leominster Mayor Dean Mazzarella called the split “the worst political thing that could ever happen to our region,” but said the area’s municipal leaders had little recourse once the map was determined.

“The mayors all agreed, but we’re limited as to what mechanisms we could use,” he said.

Fitchburg Mayor Lisa Wong said she, Mazzarella and Gardner Mayor Mark Hawke all made calls to the state and U.S. congressional delegations requesting that the cities stay together.

“All three of us would prefer that we’re in the same district,” she said. “But the response was that this is final right now.”

State Rep. Rich Bastien, a Gardner Republican, said the legislative redistricting committee considered input from other legislators when redrawing the state House and Senate maps but did not hear their concerns when it came to crafting the congressional map.

“They basically showed us the map on Monday and said, ‘Here it is,'” he said.

Bastien voted in favor of an alternative redistricting proposal offered by Senate Minority Leader Bruce Tarr, R-Gloucester, and House Minority Leader Bradley Jones, R-North Reading. The Republican map would have moved several Worcester County communities into McGovern’s district.

The GOP plan would not have consolidated Fitchburg, Leominster and Gardner, however. Under the proposal, Fitchburg and Leominster would have been part of Tsongas’ district, while Gardner would have been in McGovern’s.

“In neither proposal were the three cities going to be together, which was disappointing,” said Flanagan, who voted against the Republican amendment. “I said to Sen. Tarr, ‘I understand what you’re trying to do, but you still split my three cities apart.'”

Flanagan said the three cities will still be united in terms of legislative needs, despite being in separate districts.

“I think it’s important that the state delegation, including myself and the representatives, work hard to make sure the two congressmen understand the three cities are still going to be attached,” she said.

Link to story

Cape unscathed by redistricting

Wednesday, November 2nd, 2011

By Marjorie NesinCape Cod Times

Nov. 2, 2011

 

BOSTON — New legislative district maps passed the House and Senate on Tuesday with Cape Cod residents largely unaffected by the changes, despite a declining population in Barnstable County.

“I really don’t believe it’s going to affect the constituents much at all,” said state Rep. Cleon Turner, D-Dennis, in a telephone interview.

Turner, who gained Barnstable Precinct 1 in the redistricting process, doubted that voters would notice the changes.

He said many constituents are unfamiliar with their state representatives and unaware that the state is undergoing a redistricting process.

“It doesn’t matter who it is: Republican, Democrat, whatever, people are busy,” Turner said.

Turner said he considered sending a letter to each new voter in his district, but the price of postage would total $2,500. Instead, Turner will be “getting out there to introduce” himself.

Barnstable County experienced the steepest population drop in the state, 2.85 percent, over the last 10 years.

Meanwhile, Plymouth County, represented by Senate President Therese Murray, managed to grow by 4.67 percent, the fifth highest growth in the state.

That population shift caused Barnstable Precincts 10, 11 and 12 to be swapped into state Sen. Daniel Wolf’s district while shrinking Murray’s district.

The ideal population for a Senate district in Massachusetts is 163,691 people.

Murray’s district was 5.4 percent over that number; Wolf’s district was 2.7 percent under before redistricting.

“There was no place else for me to go. I had to lose because I was over (the ideal population number) and Sen. Wolf had to gain because he was under,” Murray said in a telephone interview.

Murray said she thought that the changes in districts would not put her or any of the Cape legislators at a disadvantage for re-election.

“I don’t think any of them lost that much of their base. I’d say they still have about 90 percent of the voters in their district,” Murray said.

The legislation awaits the governor’s signature.

New districts would be effective for the November 2012 elections.

District maps are available on the state Legislature’s website, www.malegislature.gov.

Link to the original article.

Mass. Senate, House approve new district maps; gov must OK

Wednesday, November 2nd, 2011

November 2, 2011

BOSTON –Massachusetts legislators approved the new maps for the state Legislature yesterday that bring few changes locally.

The state Senate voted 36-0 in favor of a redistricting plan for the 40-member chamber, while representatives separately approved the proposed map for the 160-member House by a vote of 151-3.

The three against it were Rep. Steven Levy, R-Marlboro, Rep. Thomas Conroy, D-Wayland and Rep. Bradford Hill, R-Ipswich. Seven other lawmakers were absent.

The two chambers later approved each other’s maps without debate, sending them on to Gov. Deval Patrick for his signature.

The new map increases the number of districts in which minority voters make up a majority of the population from 10 to 20.

The map also rejects the state’s history of gerrymandering, the process of weakening the clout of certain communities by splitting them between different districts, he added.

Rep. Michael Moran, D-Boston, said the doubling of majority-minority districts makes state government more inclusive.

“Never in the history of the commonwealth have minorities been more empowered to elect the candidate of their choice than they are when we enact this bill,” he said. “I believe this bill reflects the many, many faces of Massachusetts.”

Rep. Kevin Murphy’s district in Lowell is one of the newly recognized majority-minority districts. While its boundaries have not changed since the last redistricting 10 years ago, the demographics of its residents have.

No changes were made in Lowell, Billerica, Wilmington, Dracut, Tyngsboro, Littleton or Westford, but some adjustments were made to Chelmsford and Tewksbury to reflect population shifts.

The two East Tewksbury precincts represented by Rep. Paul Adams, R-Andover, will move to the district of another freshman Republican from Andover, Rep. James Lyons.

Adams, who moved this week to a different Andover neighborhood so that he would not be running against Lyons in a redrawn district, said he is sad to lose his Tewksbury precincts.

“I know the people in Tewksbury, and I know the community,” he said. “So I’ll still be around. I’m always in Tewksbury. I’ve been shopping and working there for 20 years.”

Chelmsford’s Precinct 3, the northwest section of the town, moves from the district represented by Rep. James Arciero, D-Westford, to that of Rep. Thomas Golden, D-Lowell. Precinct 8, to the south of Precinct 3, will switch from Golden’s district to Arciero’s.

Material from the Associated Press was used in this report.

House passes state redistricting bill

Wednesday, November 2nd, 2011

By Krista KanoMetroWest Daily News

November 2, 2011

The House took less than 90 minutes to pass the state’s complex redistricting bill yesterday after quickly rejecting amendments submitted by four local legislators to tweak the map.

The 150-3 vote ended a process that began this fall when the Special Joint Committee on Redistricting traveled across the state to explain the redistricting process and to gather public comment.

The Senate yesterday approved its redistricting map, 36-0.

In the House, Rep. Brad Hill, R-Ipswich, a member of the redistricting committee, was one of the dissenters along with reps. Steven Levy, R-Marlborough, and Thomas Conroy, D-Wayland.

Nine amendments were offered to the legislation, including two from Levy, and ones from Rep. Carolyn Dykema, D-Holliston, Rep. George Peterson, R-Grafton, and Rep. Matthew Beaton, R-Shrewsbury, which all involved redrawing their district boundaries.

Of the four legislators, only Levy, who represents the 4th Middlesex, chose to speak about one of his amendments that called for redrawing much of central Massachusetts, prompting a short debate.

Levy’s district now includes all of Marlborough, Berlin and northern Southborough. The committee redrew the 4th Middlesex to include all of Marlborough, southern Northborough and central Westborough. Levy’s amendment would have kept Marlborough and northern Southborough together in the 4th Middlesex and moved Berlin to the 3rd Middlesex.

“There’s more than one possible solution to the problem, and when an alternative is offered, it should be discussed so that we give the commonwealth the best draft,” Levy said.

Levy said his version would minimize change and would keep 7,500 more people in their current districts than the committee’s map.

Changes to Levy’s district reflect a population boom in Berlin, Marlborough and Southborough. In 10 years, Berlin’s population has grown from 2,380 to 2,866, a 20.4 percent increase. Marlborough’s population rose from 36,255 to 38,499, a 6.1 percent increase. Southborough increased 11.2 percent, from 8,781 to 9,767.

Rep. Michael Moran, D-Brighton, co-chairman of the redistricting committee, countered Levy’s argument, saying Levy’s amendment would affect seven districts.

Moran explained that the target district size – determined, by dividing the total Massachusetts population by 160 House districts – is 40,923, plus or minus 5 percent. That makes the lowest district size 38,877 and the largest 42,969.

“No matter how you draw this map, Marlborough has to be included with some other city or district with it, so you’d still have to split another community to join it,” Moran said. “This amendment alone shifts 28,727 people and that’s not including the five other districts it would affect.”

The amendment was rejected, as was Levy’s second amendment, which he had previously described as a “last resort” to keep his district together.

The House and Senate votes will move the redistricting plan to Gov. Deval Patrick, meeting a deadline of Nov. 4 for the 2012 election. This year’s redistricting was relatively non-controversial, with the redistricting committee earning praise from legislators and good-government groups.

In previous years, the maps were often challenged in federal court.

For the first time in the history of Massachusetts redistricting, the committee held a two-week public comment period before voting on the new maps.

The committee still needs to submit a congressional district map to the House and Senate, reducing the number of congressional districts from 10 to nine.

Link to story

Mass. political redistricting proposal passes House, Senate

Wednesday, November 2nd, 2011

By Andrea AldanaThe Patriot Ledger

After months of hearings with voters and meetings with lawmakers, the House and Senate gave quick approval to a redistricting plan Tuesday that will redraw the Massachusetts political landscape for the next 10 years.

The Senate voted 36-0 for its boundaries. The House voted 151-3 for its boundaries after rejecting seven of eight amendments, including one filed by Rep. Bruce Ayers, D-Quincy, to keep his district the same.

Under the plan, Ayers would lose Precinct 3 of Ward 3 to Rep. Martin Walsh, D-Dorchester, and swap precincts with Rep. Tackey Chan, D-Quincy. Ayers would also lose Precinct 5 of Ward 5 to Chan and gain Precinct 4 of Ward 3.

Three other local representatives did not challenge the changes made to their districts.

Rep. Daniel Webster, R-Pembroke – who represents Duxbury’s Precincts 2, 3, 4 and 5 – would pick up Precinct 6 from Rep. Thomas Calter, D-Kingston, who would gain Precinct 2 of Halifax from Webster.

When Webster ran for office in 2002, he promised his constituents that he would work to unify Duxbury, he said.

“Ideally (the district) would be all of Hanson, all of Pembroke and all of Duxbury, but they’ve grown too much,” said Webster.

Webster said he would serve his Duxbury constituents just as he did before.

“Before, when I only represented four (Duxbury) precincts, I always regarded (the town) as completely in my district and that will remain the same as it always has,” said Webster.

Calter, who would represent Precinct 1 of Duxbury and all of Halifax, applauded the redistricting committee, but was disappointed that towns in his district would continue to be split.

“While I am delighted that Halifax will be unified, I am disappointed for the towns of Duxbury and Middleboro who had hope that their two towns would be unified as well,” said Calter.

Rep. Walter Timilty, D-Milton, said that because both Milton and Randolph precincts changed, changes to his district were inevitable.

But he said the changes will have little effect because he considers himself as a representative of both towns.

Timilty said he works closely with Ayers and Rep. Mark Cusack, D-Braintree, in representing Randolph, and with Reps. Linda Dorcena Forry, D-Dorchester, and Angelo Scaccia, D-Readville, in Milton. Scaccia would no longer represent Milton in January if the plan is enacted.

Link to Story

Redistricting plan leaves Marlborough divided

Wednesday, October 26th, 2011

By Krista KanoMetroWest Daily News

October 26, 2011

The 4th Middlesex district has yet another new shape, following a vote by the Legislature’s redistricting committee that changed two other House districts but left the rest of its plan for the state’s new legislative map intact.

“It doesn’t make a big difference,” said Rep. Steven Levy, R-Marlborough, who was elected to represent the 4th Middlesex in 2010. “They still decided to keep Marlborough split.”

Yesterday, the Special Joint Committee on Redistricting approved several changes to the first draft map released on Oct. 18. The changes reflect the feedback the committee received in the form of 160 emails, 100 phone calls, and numerous office meetings, House Chairman Michael Moran, D-Brighton, said.

Levy said his constituents were especially vocal about their dislike of the redrawn district, which is quite different from the district boundaries he was elected to represent. Only the two-thirds of Marlborough remain from the original district map.

“The way they’re looking at it is they elected me to be their representative, and even though these (new maps) don’t take effect until 2013, they still feel like their representative is being taken away because for some of them, I won’t even be on their ballot,” said Levy.

Last week, Levy submitted a redrawn map to the committee that he says leaves more towns intact and keeps more people living in their original district, but no aspects of his map appeared in the version voted on by the committee.

Levy plans to submit his map to the House as an amendment, as well as some “last resort” amendments that would reunite Marlborough or bring Marlborough and Berlin back together.

Levy said the committee received complaints from Berlin residents and a resolution from the Marlborough City Council that it wants to remain within the 4th District.

The first draft of the House redistricting map changed the 4th Middlesex, which had encompassed all of Berlin and Marlborough and an eastern portion of Southborough. Under the committee’s plan, it would contain western and southeast Marlborough, southern Northborough and central Westborough.

At yesterday’s meeting, the committee proposed giving the 4th Middlesex the western two-thirds of Marlborough and giving the eastern third of the city to the 13th Middlesex.

Committee member, Rep. Bradley Jones, Jr., R-North Reading, explained at the meeting that the changes to Marlborough were an attempt to make the district more compact.

The committee approved two other changes, moving the town of Plainfield back to the 1st Franklin District and a heavily Latino-populated Cambridge precinct back to the 2nd Suffolk District.

The committee also made a few changes to the Senate map, moving a majority-minority precinct into Dorchester and Mattapan into the 2nd Suffolk District.

The Senate map was passed unanimously while the House map had one dissenter, Rep. Brad Hill, R-Ipswich. Sen. Bruce Tarr, R-Gloucester, did not vote on the House map.

The maps now go to the House and Senate for amendments and approval and then on to Gov. Deval Patrick. Patrick must approve them Nov. 6 so candidates can fulfill the one-year residence requirement to run for office.

Link to story

Redistricting leaves local reps swapping among themselves

Thursday, October 20th, 2011

By Krista KanoMetroWest Daily News

October 20, 2011

The borders of the 8th and 18th Worcester districts would change dramatically under the first draft of a new legislative district map, but their lawmakers say they are working to make the transition easy for residents.

“I would imagine if people were to take a look at all 160 districts in the commonwealth, mine has changed the most,” said state Rep. Kevin Kuros, R-Uxbridge.

Under the redistricting plan, Kuros swaps most of his precincts with state Rep. Ryan Fattman, R-Sutton. Kuros said he doesn’t see the new boundaries as a problem.

“I think the transition will be pretty smooth, because most of the towns I’m picking up are coming from Rep. Fattman, and the ones I’m losing are going to Rep. Fattman, and we have worked closely since January,” Kuros said.

Both Fattman and Kuros are first-term Republicans who beat Democratic incumbents in their districts.

The state Legislature’s Special Committee on Redistricting released the first draft of its new district map Tuesday. Lawmakers and residents have one week to comment on the proposed changes. The committee will then discuss and vote on its proposal and send it to the House and Senate for debate and enactment by Oct. 31.

This is the first time that the committee has allowed public comment prior to a vote.

The committee has said it hopes the new map will be in force by Nov. 6 so legislators and new candidates can meet the requirement of living within their district for at least a year before seeking election or re-election.

Fattman, who represents the 18th, and Kuros, who represents the 8th, said the changes should not be a problem for them since they already work together. They have combined their budgets with permission of House Speaker Robert DeLeo and now share the same office, chief of staff and legislative aides at the State House.

“We did that to be collaborative, and that’s something we’ll continue to do as we transition,” Fattman said.

Both Fattman and Kuros also hired the same company to manage their constituent database management systems, which they said they hope will make for a seamless transition.

“Come January (20)13, if we’re both lucky enough to get elected, (the transition) won’t even be noticed,” Kuros said. “We’ve been scheduling meetings in each other’s districts so we can introduce each other to the new constituents. We’ll be doing that together. Between those scheduled introductory meetings and using the same technology, I think we can make it pretty smooth.”

In the old maps, the 18th consists of Bellingham, Blackstone, Millville, northern Uxbridge and all of Sutton except the northeastern corner. It wraps around the northeastern part of the 8th, which has Dudley, Webster, southeastern Oxford, Douglas and southern Uxbridge.

The redrawn map has compacted the 8th and 18th, making them squarer and uniting Sutton under the 18th and Uxbridge under the 8th.

Under the new maps, Millville, Blackstone and Bellingham have moved to the 8th, as has the entirety of Uxbridge. The 18th Worcester, having lost those communities, gains southern Oxford, Webster and Douglas, while keeping all of Sutton.

The change reflects the significant population rise in some of the towns. Uxbridge’s population rose 20.63 percent in the last decade, according to U.S. Census results, while Millville’s population rose 17.11 percent.

Both the 8th and the 18th’s populations rose by nearly 10 percent.

“I think if you take a look at what happened within the district, mine got more compact from five towns to four towns, and these are all good things,” Kuros said. “The districts that are more compact allow better service, so there are a lot of positives to come out of it. Change is just difficult.”

The state lost one of its 10 congressional seats as a result of the Census count. The new congressional boundaries will be revealed later this month.

Link to story

Redistricting plan would shake up representation in MetroWest

Wednesday, October 19th, 2011

By Krista KanoMetroWest Daily News
October 19, 2011

The first draft of the new map of the state’s legislative districts was unveiled yesterday, causing a stir in several MetroWest communities.

“There have been significant changes to the district, and I’m not particularly happy about it,” said Rep. Steven Levy, R-Marlborough, who has already spoken to the chairman of the redistricting committee, offering his own plan that leaves Marlborough intact.

The redistricting process redraws legislative and congressional districts based on each decade’s U.S. Census. The population count found an increase in residents in the Worcester area and a drop in population on Cape Cod and in western Massachusetts.

The state lost one of its 10 congressional seats as a result of the Census count. The new congressional boundaries will be revealed later this month.

Under the committee’s plan, Marlborough, which now fits within the 4th Middlesex District, would be split so that the northeastern portion of the city joins the 13th Middlesex. That district would also include a small section of north Framingham.

Levy said Marlborough’s city council has already passed a resolution voicing their opposition to the city being split in half, which Levy plans to submit to the committee. He said he is prepared to negotiate to keep Marlborough intact.

“I understand changes have to be made and nobody can keep the district exactly the way it was, but the priority ought to be to preserve the communities as a whole,” he said. “I absolutely appreciate the complexity of the task and the hard process that the committee has to go through, but I’m not happy with the results.”

The 4th Middlesex, in addition to losing northeastern Marlborough, would also lose Berlin and northeast Southborough while gaining southern Northborough and a middle sliver of Westborough.

Westborough had been split among the 9th Worcester, the 11th Worcester and the 8th Middlesex, with the dividing lines emanating from the center. Under the new plan, Westborough would be split vertically between the 11th Worcester, the 4th Middlesex and the 8th Middlesex.

Rep. Thomas Conroy, D-Wayland, and his 13th Middlesex would also gain the northeast portion of Framingham while losing eastern Wayland to the 14th Norfolk.

Conroy said he wouldn’t offer and opinion until “people of my district weigh in.”

Natick, now split between the 5th and 14th Middlesex districts, would be united as part of the 5th Middlesex district.

Southborough, now split between the 4th and 8th Middlesex districts, would be entirely in the 8th.

Framingham’s current split between the 6th and 7th Middlesex would shift so that the 7th is only in the southeast portion of the town, turning the southwest into the 6th.

In releasing the proposed maps at a State House event, the Redistricting Committee chairmen, Rep. Michael Moran, D-Brighton, and Sen. Stanley Rosenberg, D-Amherst, stressed that this is a first draft and that this year’s redistricting process has been changed to include a weeklong public comment period before the committee votes.

This is the first time that the committee has allowed public comment prior to a vote.

“This openness and transparency has added to the value of the maps,” said Moran. “I believe it truly represents the faces of this state.”

The committee held 13 hearings across the state and received about 400 testimonies from the public.

Pam Wilmot, executive director of Common Cause Massachusetts, praised the committee for its open process this year.

“This is a substantial step forward and a marked break with the past where maps were rushed through the legislative process in a matter of days,” she said.

The committee’s vote would be followed by debate in the House and Senate around Oct. 31.

Link to story

Redistricting plan would shake up representation in MetroWest

Wednesday, October 19th, 2011

By Krista KanoMetroWest Daily News

October 19, 2011

The first draft of the new map of the state’s legislative districts was unveiled yesterday, causing a stir in several MetroWest communities.

“There have been significant changes to the district, and I’m not particularly happy about it,” said Rep. Steven Levy, R-Marlborough, who has already spoken to the chairman of the redistricting committee, offering his own plan that leaves Marlborough intact.

The redistricting process redraws legislative and congressional districts based on each decade’s U.S. Census. The population count found an increase in residents in the Worcester area and a drop in population on Cape Cod and in western Massachusetts.

The state lost one of its 10 congressional seats as a result of the Census count. The new congressional boundaries will be revealed later this month.

Under the committee’s plan, Marlborough, which now fits within the 4th Middlesex District, would be split so that the northeastern portion of the city joins the 13th Middlesex. That district would also include a small section of north Framingham.

Levy said Marlborough’s city council has already passed a resolution voicing their opposition to the city being split in half, which Levy plans to submit to the committee. He said he is prepared to negotiate to keep Marlborough intact.

“I understand changes have to be made and nobody can keep the district exactly the way it was, but the priority ought to be to preserve the communities as a whole,” he said. “I absolutely appreciate the complexity of the task and the hard process that the committee has to go through, but I’m not happy with the results.”

The 4th Middlesex, in addition to losing northeastern Marlborough, would also lose Berlin and northeast Southborough while gaining southern Northborough and a middle sliver of Westborough.

Westborough had been split among the 9th Worcester, the 11th Worcester and the 8th Middlesex, with the dividing lines emanating from the center. Under the new plan, Westborough would be split vertically between the 11th Worcester, the 4th Middlesex and the 8th Middlesex.

Rep. Thomas Conroy, D-Wayland, and his 13th Middlesex would also gain the northeast portion of Framingham while losing eastern Wayland to the 14th Norfolk.

Conroy said he wouldn’t offer and opinion until “people of my district weigh in.”

Natick, now split between the 5th and 14th Middlesex districts, would be united as part of the 5th Middlesex district.

Southborough, now split between the 4th and 8th Middlesex districts, would be entirely in the 8th.

Framingham’s current split between the 6th and 7th Middlesex would shift so that the 7th is only in the southeast portion of the town, turning the southwest into the 6th.

In releasing the proposed maps at a State House event, the Redistricting Committee chairmen, Rep. Michael Moran, D-Brighton, and Sen. Stanley Rosenberg, D-Amherst, stressed that this is a first draft and that this year’s redistricting process has been changed to include a weeklong public comment period before the committee votes.

This is the first time that the committee has allowed public comment prior to a vote.

“This openness and transparency has added to the value of the maps,” said Moran. “I believe it truly represents the faces of this state.”

The committee held 13 hearings across the state and received about 400 testimonies from the public.

Pam Wilmot, executive director of Common Cause Massachusetts, praised the committee for its open process this year.

“This is a substantial step forward and a marked break with the past where maps were rushed through the legislative process in a matter of days,” she said.

The committee’s vote would be followed by debate in the House and Senate around Oct. 31.

Barnstable would be reunited on new district map

Tuesday, October 18th, 2011

By Marjorie NesinCape Cod Times

Oct. 18, 2011

BOSTON – Barnstable would be reunited under one state Senate district under a redistricting plan released on Tuesday by the Special Joint Committee on Redistricting.

Sen. Daniel A. Wolf, D-Harwich, said the shift of three districts on the Cape due to a drop in population would have no major political impact on next year’s election.

“From a state Senate standpoint it’s pretty minor stuff…it reunites Barnstable, so it’s good news for the Cape,” he said in a telephone interview.

Rejoining municipalities that were previously split was a goal of the redistricting committee, committee chairman Sen. Stanley C. Rosenberg, D-Amherst told a Statehouse news conference. He said 92 percent of Massachusetts residents have remained within the same voting district that they have been part of for the last 10 years.

Because of population decline in Barnstable County, precincts 10, 11 and 12 were shifted from Senate President Therese Murray’s Plymouth District to Wolf’s Barnstable district.

“Plymouth has grown in population so she could afford to lose a few seats,” Wolf said. Murray’s Senate district is still within the range for the ideal number of residents, which is 640,000. The changes in the Barnstable district increased its population by about 10,000 people, settling at169,000 residents, according to Wolf.

Population numbers from the 2010 U.S. Census Bureau set the criteria for the proposed changes. The maps will be open to public discussion for seven days before the Senate votes.

The Massachusetts Constitution requires the House, Senate, Governor’s Council and congressional district boundaries to be reexamined and changed in line with each decade’s national census.

A map of the congressional districts will be released in the coming weeks. Massachusetts will be downsizing from 10 congressional districts to nine.

Once the new boundaries are approved by the House and Senate and signed by Gov. Deval Patrick, they will become effective for the 2012 election cycle.

Senate President Therese Murray was not available for comment Tuesday evening.