BOS approved measures to increase voter participation

Above: Town officials are taking action to improve turnout at the polls and Town Meetings. (photo left by Susan Fitzgerald, right by Beth Melo)

The Board of Selectmen supported two measures to increase Southborough voter participation. One was to boost election turnout and the other focused on Town Meeting.

Town Clerk Jim Hegarty proposed extending election poll hours to cover earlier hours. Last night, Hegarty got approval to fund staffing all of the elections from 6:30 am to the standard 8:00 pm closing. The projected $1,250 will come from his previously approved budget.

Southborough polls have traditionally opened at 7:00 am for state and federal elections and primaries. But for the annual Town elections, they have opened an hour later.

In his memo, Hegarty pitched that the early hours are important for long-range commuters and workers with 12 hour shifts. And he pointed out that inconsistent hours can cause confusion.

Hegarty also plans to drum up voter awareness through signs and other inexpensive publicity. Southborough Wicked Local wrote:

The efforts include having commercial property owners place signs on their properties, ask schools and stores to publicize voting dates and asked “churches to publicize voting dates from the pulpits and in bulletins and emails.” . . .

Selectman Daniel Kolenda cautioned against the idea of having churches involved and “politics from the pulpit.”

The Town will give the new hours a four year trial at a total projected cost of about $5,000.

Town Moderator Steve Morreale also received approval for his previously proposed ad-hoc Town Meeting Review Committee. The TMRC is charged with researching suggestions to improve Town Meeting efficiency and participation. 

Last month, Morreale suggested having five committee members, with the Town Administrator Mark Purple as an extra ex-officio member.  According to SWL, last night three members were appointed by the Morreale and three by the board, in addition to Purple. The article lists the following members were named: Tim Martel, Donna McDaniel, Julie Connelly, Claire Reynolds, Steven David and Susan Grinblatas.

You can read the full SWL article here.

9 Comments
Oldest
Newest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
em
6 years ago

Any idea which members were appointed by Morreale and which were appointed by the board? It’s not in the SWL article, but I’m wondering if anyone knows.

em
6 years ago
Reply to  Beth Melo

Thank you for following up!

Donna McDaniel
6 years ago

Puzzled by Selectman Kolenda’s concern about announcing important town government dates in churches. The idea would be simply to remind them as members of the community of the dates and times of Town Meeting and local, state, and national elections. No suggestions of who to vote for or even what issues are to be decided. discussed. Churches benefit from being considered as vital to a community (hence no taxes) and participation in the community would seem to be natural for those who do talk about brotherly (and sisterly) love as well as preaching about the importance of community and being our brother’s keeper and all…..

I’m happy to be on the new committee but not writing to promote my idea–it wasn’t but I do support it for reasons I just stated..

Frank Crowell
6 years ago
Reply to  Donna McDaniel

Ms McDaniel – I agree with all of your post above. What I think Selectman Kolenda was referring to is Rev. Wright, Barrack Obama’s former minister. If you search for some of his sermons, you will get the picture.

Publius
6 years ago

Interesting that in far way places people die for the right to vote and will wait in lines for half a day to vote. We take it for granted and get the government we deserve. Or those of us who vote are like super voters and make choices for many of our less inclined neighbors.

Donna McDaniel
6 years ago

Mr Crowell… Assuming what someone else means but isn’t saying without asking him/her can be risky business (from my years as a reporter, especially). But I do think it’s clear that Selectman Kolenda’s suggestion was not for sermons but church announcements. (Sermons would be out of our control or we could say none of our business…)The simple idea: remind churchgoers that the larger community they are part of has elections and a Town Meeting also important in our shared lives.
With some effort, I will not say more about why President Obama’s name or church life is brought into something totally unrelated to him!

Publius: Thanks! In March I did a program at the library about the women suffragettes who were dragged through the streets, locked up, and even force fed when they demonstrated for their right to vote. We owe them… (Demonstrations for causes are not a new phenomenon.)

Frank Crowell
6 years ago
Reply to  Donna McDaniel

Fairly sure, Ms McDaniel, that if I am so wrong in my assertion Mr. Kolenda can correct me himself. It is a very short distance from announcing from the pulpit an upcoming town vote to how one should vote. If done right, I have no problem with it.

  • © 2022 MySouthborough.com — All rights reserved.