Darien's first test drive of its new voting districts takes place today, when Republicans in town are entitled to vote in the presidential primary, and a lot of voters may be showing up at the wrong polling place.
The primary, which is only open to Republicans, starts at 6 a.m. and ends at 8 p.m. Have some identification handy (a photo I.D. is best), but if you don't have it, you can sign a document, swear you are who you say you are, and then vote.
GOP voters can choose between Mitt Romney, Newt Gingrich and Ron Paul (all still officially in the race), along with Rick Santorum and Uncommitted.
You can figure out whether or not you live in a new voting district by looking at the attached document, which breaks down each street's voter district (which is also its Representative Town Meeting district and which determines your polling place). That document also tells you where your district's voting place is located—some have changed.
District 3, for instance, which used to run as far south as the Post Road, now sticks its toe only as far south as West Avenue, only a block from the Stamford line, then stretches right up to the New Canaan line. District 5 follows such a complicated path that it isn't worth trying to explain in words—or even show on a map on Patch. Just go to the attached document, which comes from the Darien Registrars of Voters Office.
District 1 had to move east so that Hollow Tree Ridge Road is not its western boundary. To make up for the area lost, it moved further south and now occupies streets that used to be in District 6. That district then moved westwards, to pick up several blocks from District 5.
Districts 2 and 4 hardly changed at all, but District 2 now votes at Tokeneke School instead of at Town Hall. District 6, which used to vote at Tokeneke School, now votes at Town Hall.
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Why all the changes? One big part of them is the Avalon development off of Hollow Tree Ridge Road just west of the Noroton Heights Railroad Station, said Thomas Dunn, the Democratic registrar of voters. Districts had to be remapped to maintain some level of equal size.
Actually, some districts are purposefully larger and will send more members to the Representative Town Meeting. So long as the proportion of registered voters is consistent with the number of RTM members in that district, as compared to other districts, the boundaries are acceptable, Dunn said. Some districts, for instance, elect 17 members of the RTM, others elect 16 members.
Census figures themselves weren't exact enough to create district lines, he said, so voter registration rolls were used instead.
Except for Darien Town Hall, the town's voting places are its schools. With school in session, parking is expected to be difficult and when students are out of the building, drivers should be on the lookout.
At Royle School, the parking lot is so close to the playground that town officials decided not to have a polling place there, Dunn said.