- Tim Newcomb
Every 10 years, Vermont redraws its state House and Senate districts based on population data from the U.S. Census. The goal of this redistricting process is to make sure every resident has equal representation in the 30-member Senate and 150-member House of Representatives. Redistricting was in the news in the spring because 2022 is one of those once-in-a-decade years. In March, the legislature passed a bill finalizing the changes; Gov. Phil Scott signed it into law in April. Starting with this summer's primary election, some voters will see changes to their ballots. Here are a few of the most significant revisions:
There are now 16 Senate districts instead of 13. None of the districts will be represented by more than three senators.
Instead of six senators, Chittenden County will now have seven. That's because the population of northwest Vermont has grown considerably over the last 10 years, while most of the rest of the state has lost residents. But those seven senators won't be part of a single block — the county will now be split into three districts:
- The southeast Chittenden district will have three senators representing the southern part of Burlington, South Burlington, Shelburne, Charlotte, Hinesburg, Bolton, Williston, Jericho and Underhill.
- The central Chittenden district will have three senators representing the northern part of Burlington, Winooski, the southern part of Colchester and most of Essex.
- The north Chittenden district will be represented by a single senator from the towns of Milton, Westford and part of Essex, as well as the Franklin County town of Fairfax.
Stowe will now be represented by the three-member Washington County Senate district, though it's actually part of Lamoille County.
Some voters will now be part of different House districts. For example, voters in the East End of Burlington are no longer part of the district that includes Winooski; the Onion City is in a district of its own, represented by two House members. The new districts are designed to ensure that each House member represents as close to 4,287 Vermont residents as possible. The resulting 109 House districts include 68 with one member and 41 with two.
There's a new House district in southern Vermont that includes the Green Mountain towns of Readsboro, Searsburg, Stamford and Pownal. This change offsets population loss in the Bennington area, though some have argued that the decision ignores stark geographic and cultural differences between the communities.