WVN #57: Could It Be That They Don't Want Seniors to Vote?
- Wayland Voters Network
January 3, 2005
Dear Wayland Voter,
This issue contains a letter published last week in the Wayland Town
Crier in response to attacks against WVN by the chair of the ballot
question committee that supports the proposed reconstruction of
Wayland High School, and by other critics including School Committee
and High School Building Committee members.
As we have repeatedly explained, WVN provides supplementary
information to voters, rather than merely repeat material already
widely distributed by others. Common sense suggests that when
deciding the most expensive project in Wayland history, voters should
have as much information as possible and not rely solely on the
arguments of those who conceived the project.
Common sense also suggests that the worst possible time to schedule
such an election is the middle of winter, when older people have the
most trouble getting to the polls and are most likely to be out of
town. We have been trying to rectify the irresponsibility of those
who insisted on a January vote, by sending absentee ballot
applications to voters most likely to need them.
We have forwarded our letter to the editor to the Board of Selectmen
and Executive Secretary Jeff Ritter. We urge you to contact the BOS
selectmen@... and Town Moderator Peter Gossels (h:508-358-
7438) if you share our concerns. We trust they would welcome your
comments and ideas about ways to ensure that elderly voters and those
with disabilities are not disenfranchised.
TO THE EDITOR: COULD IT BE THAT THEY DON'T WANT SENIORS TO VOTE?
As you know, your Dec. 23 story on Kim Reichelt's attack on the
Wayland Voters Network was initiated by Ms. Reichelt, who contacted
your reporter to accuse us of being biased and "dishonest." As your
reporter discovered, there is no plausible evidence for Ms.
Reichelt's specious claims.
Our newsletters are factually accurate. As to whether our decisions
about what to report reflect a bias, that's a matter of
interpretation. Some readers tell us WVN appears to support the high
school proposal, others say the opposite.
We invite your readers to subscribe to our newsletter and judge for
themselves. To receive it by email, write to waylandvoters@....
To receive it by regular mail, call Michael, 508-358-2365.
Ms. Reichelt takes exception to the fact that we sent applications
for absentee ballots for the Jan. 25 tax override election to some,
but not all, voters. Why didn't we mail applications to everyone? We
rely on donations from our readers, and our funds are limited. So we
mailed applications to those most likely to need them. That group
includes, but is not limited to, retirees.
A member of the School Committee inaccurately asserts on the SC
website that WVN apparently mailed absentee ballot applications
only "to elderly households and not to households of school
supporters." Does the School Committee believe that seniors are not
supporters of the schools?
Could it be that Ms. Reichelt and the School Committee don't want
seniors to vote in the Jan. 25 election and Jan. 27 town meeting on
whether to fund the design of the proposed new high school?
The reason Wayland Voters Network mailed absentee ballot applications
is that a majority of selectmen (Betsy Connolly, Michael Tichnor,
Bill Whitney) refused to do so. Mr. Tichnor suggested that if
applications were included in a town-wide mailing, it might
be too easy for people to vote by absentee ballot as a matter of
convenience, rather than necessity. Those eligible to vote by
absentee ballot should have to be "proactive," he said, and get the
Could it be that a majority of selectmen don't want seniors to vote
on Jan. 25 and 27?
Could town officials make it EASIER for seniors to vote? A few
-- Send an absentee ballot application to every registered voter over
the age of 60.
-- Be proactive about providing transportation to the polls; announce
pick-up times at senior housing.
-- Reserve parking spaces near the Field House for seniors attending
town meeting so they won't have to shuttle from satellite parking
-- Designate a Field House entrance for seniors and people with
disabilities so they have quick access to the building.
-- Reserve seating on the Field House floor for those who have
trouble using the bleachers.
-- If voting machines are used, allow less hardy voters first access
so they won't have to wait in line.
-- Send a mailing to all elderly residents about these arrangements
at town meeting, encourage them to attend, and remind them they can
get a ride by contacting the Council on Aging.
Unless town officials take such steps, suspicions will persist that
the promoters of the high school project don't want seniors to vote.
Margo Melnicove, WVN Chair
Michael Short, WVN Treasurer
Pelham Island Road
Thank you for reading this WVN newsletter. Please forward it to your
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Wayland Voters Network
Margo Melnicove, Chair
Michael Short, Treasurer