WVN # 42: SELECTMEN REJECT ABSENTEE MAILING
- Wayland Voters Network
October 28, 2005
Dear Wayland Voter,
This is a report of the Selectmen's meeting on October 25, based on a
transcript of the televised broadcast of the meeting.
SELECTMEN REJECT ABSENTEE BALLOT APPLICATION MAILING
Selectmen have been talking about mailing absentee ballot applications to
make it easier for residents who are unable to get to the polls or are out of
town for the Special Election on January 25, 2005, to vote on whether to fund
the design of a $55 million high school building plan. But when the BOS
brought it up again on Oct. 25, Selectmen argued heatedly and then voted it
"For me, what this Board should be doing is taking the high road, in light of the
fact that we are calling this thing in the middle of winter," Selectman Brian
O'Herlihy said. "...There's a bunch of Wayland residents who are going to
head out sometime between Nov. 2 and Thanksgiving and won't return until
the spring...To not send it out sends a signal of trying to discourage
Opposition was led by Selectman Michael Tichnor, who said, "I really
disagree with that, Brian...I don't think it is going to shed a dim light on the
Board at all."
When O'Herlihy speculated that if the town fails to send applications, some
group might use private funds to mail them, Tichnor replied, "Then let it go by
private funding...if it is that important to whatever group, then let them do it."
"But," said O_Herlihy, "I think it is important to the voters of Wayland."
When the vote came, Doug Leard joined O'Herlihy on the losing side.
Tichnor, Betsy Connolly and Bill Whitney voted to send voter information
lacking the application.
Selectmen plan a townwide mailing after the presidential election to inform
residents about the special election on the most expensive project in Wayland
history. Voters will be told how to obtain an absentee ballot from the town
clerk or download it from a state government website. The townwide mailing
will also include FAQs from the State Elections Division regarding voting by
The ballot will ask voters on Jan. 25 to approve a Prop. 2-1/2 tax override for
design work and other things, but won't include any dollar amount. A Special
Town Meeting two days later would decide whether to appropriate the first $4
million or so.
Town Clerk Judy St. Croix told the Selectmen that as many as 700 voters
request absentee ballots for a typical presidential election. For special
elections the voter turnout is generally much smaller and the number of
absentee ballot requests often less than 100. Recent decisions on major
projects have often been decided by a handful of voters.
NOTE: WVN has a transcript of the section of the Board of Selectmen meeting
dealing with absentee ballots. If you'd like to read it, let us know and we'll get
it to you by email or post.
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Wayland Voters Network
Margo Melnicove, Chair
Michael Short, Treasurer