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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

A precinct is a space enclosed by the walls or other boundaries of a particular place or building, or by an arbitrary and imaginary line drawn around it. The term has several different uses. It can, for example, refer to a division of a police department in a large city.



A precinct is generally the lowest-level governmentally-related division in the United States, and in that context is also known in some places as an election district. Precincts usually do not have separate governmental authorities, but in some states, including Ohio, the voters within a precinct may by initiative or referendum vote on liquor control laws that will be applicable only within that specific precinct (called "local option elections"). For purposes of conducting elections, an entity such as a county or township is typically subdivided into precincts and each address is assigned to a specific precinct. Each precinct has a specific location where its residents go to vote. Sometimes several precincts will use the same polling station. A 2004 survey by the United States Election Assistance Commission reported an average precinct size in the United States of approximately 1,100 registered voters. Kansas had the smallest average precinct size with 437 voters per precinct, while the District of Columbia had the largest average size at 2,704 voters per precinct. [1].

Political parties often designate individuals, known by various titles such as "precinct captain" or "Precinct Committee Officer," to help them keep track of how the voters in a precinct feel about candidates and issues, and to encourage people to vote.

Precinct data are not widely available, though they can often be obtained by request. The Canadian equivalent of a precinct is known as a Poll.


In religion, precinct can refer to the ground (sometimes consecrated) immediately surrounding a religious house or place of worship (e.g. Ancient Rome).

Public housing

In Singapore, a precinct is a cluster of public housing blocks arranged as a single unit.


In parts of the United Kingdom, a shopping mall (or centre) may be also known as a precinct, which refers to an enclosed public space with shops or departments. The pedestrianised area of a town is sometimes called a pedestrian precinct.


1911 encyclopedia

Up to date as of January 14, 2010
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From LoveToKnow 1911

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Simple English

A precinct is a closed or clearly marked space which belongs to an organisation. Around some main buildings, such as a cathedral or college, is a space. This space may have other buildings in it, and usually has a wall round it. The whole area has one owner (such as the church). Persons may only come into the precint if they are allowed: it is not a public space, even though members of the public may use it. For example, students and staff may enter a college, but visitors will have to give reasons at the entry.

The concept of a precinct is mediaeval. Towns, churches, palaces, colleges were places of limited access. They were surrounded by walls and guarded.


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