Erroneous street listing info baffles Northampton residents

  • Northampton City Hall GAZETTE FILE PHOTO

Staff Writer
Published: 3/24/2021 10:55:26 AM

NORTHAMPTON — When Mark Frost got his annual street listing form from the city — cities and towns in Massachusetts are required to do an annual census — he filled it out and was ready to mail it back when he noticed a mistake.

His ward was listed incorrectly. “Wait a minute, we’re not Ward 7,” he recalled thinking.

“We’ve owned this house, we’re going on 45 years. It’s always been 6B as a ward and precinct.”

He called his next door neighbors, and one was listed as Ward 2B and the other as 4B.

“Something is definitely messed up here,” he said. “We’ve got a mayoral election coming up … this could cause a real nightmare.”

Frost and his neighbors aren’t the only ones who noticed mistakes in the city mailings.

In a statement posted on the city’s website, City Clerk Pamela Powers asked residents to look at the mailings carefully because her office had been alerted that some ward/precinct and household information was incorrect.

“The problem concerning these two specific fields was as a result of a printer error and does not reflect the information that’s contained in our database,” Powers told the City Council at its meeting Thursday. “So these fields may have been populated inaccurately but the data in our state database has the correct information. We encourage folks if they are so inclined to correct the fields before returning the census to us.”

Although the state database has the correct information, residents who received forms with incorrect information were confused.

Barbara Sharp noticed that instead of “Olive” Street, her street was printed as “Oliver” Street. In the voter registration column, the form says an asterisk indicates a registered voter, but next to Sharp’s name was an “A.”

“So what the heck does that mean?” she said with a sigh. She went to City Hall, not realizing it was closed to the public, and then got in touch with the clerk’s office by phone.

The asterisk may not be in the voter column, but it doesn’t mean a resident is not registered to vote, Powers said.

“‘A’ or ‘I’ in the voter column means that the person is registered to vote as either active or inactive,” she wrote in the notice online.

She encouraged anyone with questions to call the city clerk’s office at 413-587-1089 or e-mail at

Greta Jochem can be reached at

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