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WVN # 42: SELECTMEN REJECT ABSENTEE MAILING

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  • waylandvoters
    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
    Message 1 of 1 , Oct 28, 2004
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      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
      down, 3-2.

      "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
      participation."

      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
      absentee ballot.

      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.

      Thank you for reading this WVN newsletter. Please forward it to your friends
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      Wayland Voters Network
      Margo Melnicove, Chair
      Michael Short, Treasurer
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