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Seekonk Selectmen, Clerks and Voting

Seeking solutions to accommodate voters in Seekonk

I may have a solution to the concerns of the Seekonk town clerk and selectman about not being able to accommodate its citizens to vote on Election Day.  

First, here are their issues:  it costs too much money to have multiple polling locations, lengthy ballots, traffic and heavy voter turnout (heavy voter turnout is not a good thing?).  

One solution: recently the selectman concluded their workload is light enough to meet every other week instead of every week. So, if each of their stipends is cut in half, then Seekonk can afford to have two or even three polling places instead of one. Because voting is something everyone in the town enjoys, I don't think voters will object. 

Seekonk residents are accustomed to fighting traffic—driving from the north end to the south end on a daily basis. They also like the idea of actually going out to vote on Election Day. This is the one thing residents feel they still have a right to do. Absentee ballots are for that purpose, voting if you’re absent on Election Day. The senior citizens I see and know in this town will vote no matter what. Not much will stop them. I don't understand why the town is so opposed to making voting easier for all residents.

Another way to save money is to stop wasting money and time on fake advertising for "open" positions when it has already been decided who will be hired. Please stop the charade.  

Lastly, without naming names, will the two selectmen please stop chatting like little magpies whenever someone else has the floor at the podium? It's annoying, distracting and rude. 

Thank you to the Patch for the opportunity to voice my concerns.

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Emcee of Seekonk October 25, 2012 at 03:34 PM
Amy, I totally agree with you. There should be at least two voting places for an election as important as this. Shame on Seekonk if citizens stay away or turn away because they cannot find a parking place. Of course, we'll never know. Another thing is that many towns in the area who use schools for voting, give the kids a day off, which I'm sure is made up somewhere down the line. This alone can free up a lot of parking places especially in a high school. If nothing else, maybe Seekonk could consider that. As for the chattering in the background, I don't think the TM has ever read a report when two or three, when McLintock is present, haven't had a sidebar conversation going on. It's rude and disrespectful. The 'open positions' has always been a charade. It's a waste of time all around, and don't believe that the application is put on file for future possibilities because the future possibilities have someone's name on them already. Nepotism is alive in well in Seekonk.
deb of see-attleboro October 25, 2012 at 03:51 PM
A also agree. I have not watched a meeting since before the special election. Just curious. Is Mrs Parker still suggesting that everyone qualifies for an absentee ballot? Every time I hear her speak on the issue, that seems to be what she is saying.
Emcee of Seekonk October 25, 2012 at 04:12 PM
"Is Mrs Parker still suggesting that everyone qualifies for an absentee ballot?" She is through her husband. Gary Sagar keeps suggesting that we open a second voting place, but he seems to stand alone with the suggestion. Mr. McLintock has been absent for the past three or so meetings... not sure how he would come down on the issue.
Jonathan Friedman (Editor) October 25, 2012 at 04:14 PM
Hi, I'll be posting a story shortly about the argument/discussion from last night's meeting.
deb of see-attleboro October 25, 2012 at 04:23 PM
I don't know if it is possible to get the information. But it would be interesting to see how many absentee ballots are distributed in Seekonk as it compares to other similar size communities. Granted. the law is difficult to enforce. However, it would be nice to know that public officials are living up to their fiduciary responsibilities.
Carol Bragg October 25, 2012 at 04:27 PM
Long lines on Election Day are an opportunity to reflect on the meaning and importance of democracy and the long struggle to achieve voting rights for all of our citizens -- those who aren't landowners, people of color, women. They are an opportunity to consider the process that immigrants go through to become U.S. citizens. They are a chance to read or re-read the U.S. Constitution, the Declaration of Independence, or your favorite prose or poetry about liberty or any other subject. Talk to your neighbors, take along a snack or purchase one from the school bake sale or Save A Pet table, and think about the people around the world who still cannot vote in elections. Enjoy the day. The right to vote is worth waiting for.
Amy October 25, 2012 at 04:39 PM
I agree Carol, there's just something about going to your local school or fire station on election day. And as mentioned, the bake sales! At the last election I learned that thousands of dollars have been raised for Scholarships just from bake sales. It's nice to see our local police officers, teachers, other officials. I dont think people mind standing in line getting caught up on all the local gossip. We all work hard and it's nice to do something together even if we disagree on who we're voting for.
deb of see-attleboro October 25, 2012 at 05:22 PM
Carol: Lemonade out of lemons? I think at least two polling places are called for. Anyone who wants to reflect can walk to the polls like they do in many third world countries. We aren't there....yet. Also all that chatting with neighbors and shopping for bake goods only further inconveniences, and perhaps discourages, those short of time who are searching for a place to park.
Amy October 25, 2012 at 05:29 PM
I didn't read all of Carol's comment. Although I agree it's nice to see our neighbors and they don't mind standing in line, I'm tired of them pushing this absenee ballot stuff. The bigger picture is we need more than one place to vote at least for the Presidential election. I mean really, once every 4 years. Are we really asking for much?
paul October 25, 2012 at 06:42 PM
The problem is we went from 4 or 5 polling places down to one and I know several people that will not vote at the high school because it's too hectic to get in & out. The only people that like one poll, work for the town. We have money for a new senior center, animal shelter and firestations but not enough for another polling location?
Emcee of Seekonk October 25, 2012 at 06:54 PM
"The only people that like one poll, work for the town." You've got that right. And it is hectic to get in and out of the parking lot, but the Arcade/Ledge intersection is the beginning of the ordeal. I hope we can afford to hire a few extra policemen just to keep the tow-trucks sorted out for the fender benders.
Terese Bohaxiu-Dicastiglione October 26, 2012 at 11:39 AM
The town should provide assistance in the high school parking lot for voters during busy periods, directing them to parking spots as they open up. It is difficult when you enter the parking lot, driving through looking for any open spot, while watching for pedestrians walking to and from their cars. They do that at large festivals, venues, etc. Depending on the weather, I may actually walk there because I had such a tough time last time getting a parking spot. I don't mind one polling location but I do mind the parking issue, especially for seniors and those who cannot walk far.
Amy October 26, 2012 at 01:20 PM
The one polling place is difficult for those in the north end. Would it cost more I wonder to have parking attendants or to open another polling place, Maybe Akin school.
Carol Bragg October 26, 2012 at 01:47 PM
Once every 4 years might make sense. But to have additional polling places for town elections and primaries is absurd -- so few people vote. The problem is changing back and forth and confusing people. We do that already with having town elections on Mondays and state and federal elections on Tuesdays. It would make sense also to push for fewer elections, which would require changes in our Charter and state law -- e.g., the special town election should have been combined with the state primaries, even if a second ballot was required to do so.
Dave Abbott October 26, 2012 at 03:24 PM
Pretty sure the schools adjust their calendars to be closed for the federal elections. Efforts are made to do this for the local elections, but you cannot anticipate when someone will quit and cause a special election. If travel is that much of an issue the town could always arrange a shuttle from the north or south ends, but to give up your right to vote because you feel it is too far away to cast your ballot is a bit much IMHO. I embrace alternative methods to cast your vote, in this day and age we all should be able to log into a secure account on the town website and vote. We can do it for banking, but not for voting?
Amy October 26, 2012 at 04:05 PM
For Presidental elections every 4 years I don't see that's it's too much to ask. It benefits all citizens.
deb of see-attleboro October 26, 2012 at 04:42 PM
Dave: With technology, maybe we can eventually eliminate the town clerk altogether. That position probably costs over 100K!!
Carol Bragg October 27, 2012 at 01:59 AM
With technology, we can eventually eliminate a whole lot of additional American jobs like we did with bank tellers, gas station attendants, and check-out clerks. If we're careful about which jobs we eliminate, maybe we can eliminate the gender wage gap and also the myth of the gender wage gap since there won't be any gender wage gap. The Town Clerk's office does a lot more than just elections.
deb of see-attleboro October 27, 2012 at 11:12 AM
Carol: I know the office has other responsibilities. However, I bet most of them can be eliminated through technology, consolidation, or by regionalization. Notice how all the positions you referenced are private sector? Rare in government. And if cuts are necessary, the threat is always directed at the front line municipal workers such as fire fighters, teachers, police etc. It is very difficult and perhaps foolhardy to replace these people with technology. So the political class keeps inventing new ways to squeeze "we the plebeians" so the size AND strength of government can grow. Makes one wonder where they are taking us.
paul October 28, 2012 at 10:54 AM
Hurley School should be used as a 2nd polling location. By only having one, the town is sending out the "we don't care if you vote vibe". We the people of the Nort End are only asking for a polling location. I'm in my forties and I can remember a time when the down had street lights and put up Christmas Trees, be a town again!
deb of see-attleboro October 28, 2012 at 10:59 PM
Talk about mixed messages!. Of course they SAY they want big turnouts. But we know differently, don't we. The powers that be don't even bother putting the reminder signs around town to direct voters to the single polling place. During the special election, I saw Buckley supporters at the intersection of Arcade and 44 encouraging people to vote. Kudos to them! I prefer to find alternatives to the schools. However, Hurley is a good second polling place. And besides, why not let the middle school get a piece of that bake sale fundraising action!
Joe November 04, 2012 at 03:52 PM
I find it very interesting that of the 10 surrounding communities (including Seekonk) 7 have 1 voting place, 1 has 2 voting places (No Attleboro), 1 has 3 voting places (Rehoboth), and 1 has 6 voting places (Attleboro) It would seem to me that the trend is toward 1 voting place. These facts were taken from a story in the Sun Chronicle on Sunday November 4, 2012
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