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Direct democracy

It was reassuring to learn this week that according to the 2020 U.S. Census, the size of the Massachusetts delegation to the House of Representatives will remain at nine. Although the country’s population continues to shift to southern and western states, Massachusetts added people and grew by 7.4% to 7 million people.

While the distribution of Massachusetts residents by county and municipality won’t be known until later this year, a redrawing of state congressional district maps seems inevitable. Each member of the House of Representatives will now represent an average of 761,169 people. This will be an increase of 50,402 (7.1% increase) compared with the average of 710,767 people per representative based on the 2010 Census.

Harvard, with its 5,502 souls, is a mere bubble in this ocean of change—less than 7 one-hundredths percent (0.07%) of the total—but within its boundaries, the town is a direct democracy, its elected boards directly responsible to its citizens, not to elected representatives. There will be no redistricting in Harvard. Instead, at Town Meeting and Town Election next month, every person will have a say about how the town spends its money, how it is zoned, and who will lead town government, the schools, the library, and Town Meeting for the next 12 months.

This week the Press has published the answers to a trio of questions that we put to the three candidates vying for a seat on the Select Board. But try as we might, our concerns don’t necessarily reflect those of every Harvard neighborhood or constituency. We hope readers will suggest additional questions of their own to ask at the May 11 candidates forum that the Press will co-host with the League of Women Voters.

To submit a question, simply go to the form we have created and type it in. You’ll find a link on Nextdoor Harvard and on the Harvard Press Facebook book page. Here’s one you can enter yourself:

Or, if you’re internet shy, you can email your questions to or send them by old-fashioned mail to Editor, The Harvard Press, 1 Still River Road, Harvard MA  01451.

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