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Houghton Election Commission approves new precinct boundaries

Beginning in August, the City of Houghton’s two precincts will mirror the new county commissioner districts.

Clerk Ann Vollrath says staff have specifically asked for the change.

Talking to precinct workers, they are begging for us to not have it that way, because it’s so hard on Election Day. They’re so nervous, there is so much going on that they’re really afraid they’ll hand the wrong ballot out.

The new dividing line is Military Road, before zig zagging onto Jacker, Sixth Street, Baraga Avenue, and Washington Street. Precinct 1 is now West Houghton, the Cedar Bluff neighborhood, and the adjacent homes on the south side of Jacker, plus one remaining city block. The apportionment committee uses census tracts, which are not quite as clean as previous geographic divisions for voting precincts. Houghton’s population became too big, thanks to growth over the past decade, to have all city residents fit within one commissioner district. If precinct boundaries had remained the same, two different commissioners would represent a portion of the district.

The current line of demarcation is Bridge Street and Military Road, which features a roughly equal distribution of voters for each. The new boundaries will have 801 voters in Precinct 1, with over 2,000 in Precinct 2. Poll locations are still Dee Stadium and the Fire Hall. May’s special election will operate as normal, using the existing boundaries.

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