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Voting precincts remain unchanged in Morris

MORRIS, Minn. - Residents of the City of Morris won't see any changes to where they vote this November after the Morris City Council voted to reestablish the city's election precincts with the same boundaries at their meeting Tuesday night.

The city is required to reestablish voting precincts after the state sets new legislative districts every 10-year census. The legislative redistricting did not impact the voting precincts in Morris - Stevens County, as a whole, remained in a single district - or require any major changes.

One issue that was considered during the process was whether the newly-annexed area to the east of Eagles Ballpark should be moved to an adjacent precinct rather than remaining part of a precinct on the west side of town, said City Manager Blaine Hill.

"The voting precincts themselves follow some strange lines," said Hill. "If you had a chance to do it all over again, you wouldn't do it that way."

Generally, it's not advised to have precincts that are not contiguous because it can cause problems setting boundaries for county districts. However, Hill said that in working with County Auditor/Treasurer Neil Weise they determined that adjusting precincts in Morris could trigger election issues for Stevens County.

"The bottom line is the state's happy with it, the county commissioners are happy with it," said Hill.

However, the resolution does drop the name "ward" attached to each precinct because the term "ward," as defined by the State of Minnesota, doesn't accurately reflect voting in Morris. A person elected by a ward is elected to represent that group of citizens. In Morris, representatives are elected at large and represent the entire city.