Redistricting could extend Yalies’ reach

Yale undergraduates will be a greater force than ever in wards 7 and 22 if the Board of Aldermen approves the newest version of a city redistricting plan released yesterday.

Ward 1, which currently includes Old Campus and eight of the 12 residential colleges, will remain a Yale stronghold under the plan, gaining Pierson and Davenport colleges from Ward 7 and losing Silliman College and Swing Space to Ward 22. As of this November’s general election, students accounted for 90 percent of the voters in Ward 1.

Ward 7, which currently includes some of the Hill neighborhood and part of downtown, will shift to include a larger part of downtown, and will border the New Haven Green on two sides if the plan is approved.

Although Ward 7 will no longer include any Yale dormitories, any student mounting a bid for office in the ward would be able to count as constituents the many students who live off campus in the area. Additionally, current Ward 7 Alderwoman Dolores Colon said she plans to move to a house that would be located in Ward 6 under the plan, meaning anyone who decided to run for the Ward 7 post would not necessarily face an incumbent.

“The redistricting is not over yet, so it’s really premature to say,” Colon added. “Hopefully, the redistricting will let everyone be where they need to be.”

Colon, who currently lives at 65 Dwight St., said she has been planning to move to the house at 34 Salem St. — now in Ward 7 — for almost a year. She would not say whether she would challenge current Ward 6 Alderwoman Hazelann Woodell if her new house did end up in Ward 6.

Ward 22, which currently includes part of the Dixwell neighborhood and Morse and Ezra Stiles colleges, will also gain a number of students, with Silliman and Swing Space slated to shift there from Ward 1.

As of November’s general election — the most recent date for which complete voter registration statistics were available — students accounted for 18 percent of Ward 22’s registered voters. Under the new plan, students might account for as much as 33 percent, according to calculations based on the same November registration statistics.

The Special Committee on Ward Redistricting, which is drafting the plan, will meet again next week.

Members of the committee said they hoped to present a blueprint to the full Board of Aldermen within the next few weeks.

Ward 2 Alderwoman Joyce Chen said the committee had only to iron out “a few details.”

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