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If the town were to come into the 21 st century I'm sure they could find better ways to get the word out. Otherwise 9% voter turnout will be the norm. Maybe the town doesn't want too many people voting. in this electronic age better ways are there
Chapter 63 Section 51. In towns using official ballots the town clerk, at least four days before an election therein, shall cause to be posted in one or more public places the names, residences and designations of all candidates duly nominated to be voted for in the town, substantially in the form of the official ballot.
I did not find anything in the state law about how notices for town elections need to be posted. (not to say isn't there, I am not an expert at searching laws). There was one requirement that cities had to send copies to their local newspapers but it specifically said that there was no requirement for the newspaer to print it.
I am sure the town did everything legally required. Saying it is up to the individual to stay informed by constantly having to spend their time to look to see if an election is coming up seems a very high bar in today's world when we don't have time to even read the papers any more. If I had lived for a long time in this town I may finially see a pattern to the voting but I have moved around a bit and everywhere (including towns in MA) have their own schedule and not easy to keep track.
If you don't want uninformed people voting maybe you should request the town not put up signs identifying polling places so that only the select few who stay informed can vote. This is why so many of us served in the military so just the elite could vote.
patrick - I was ranting, and I may have exaggerated a bit, but basically, yes, I'd prefer that people who don't know what they're voting for not vote. I don't know that I "complained" about low turnout; if anything, I think I "lamented" it, but that's different. I do think it's too bad that so few people consider it their duty to find out what's going on in local government and participate when possible, but that doesn't mean I want to lower the bar very much (if at all). It's like lamenting poor math or reading skills -- the answer isn't to make the tests easier.
Maybe there are ways "the town" could get the word out better, but there are cost/benefit questions for all of them. And look at this thread -- as you say, there are "several people [who] have now stated that they had no clue there was an election", and all of them have called for "someone else" to make more effective efforts to keep them informed. None of them that I saw seemed to consider the possibility that they, themselves, might also make more effective efforts to _be_ informed. Why is it always someone else's job to make sure you know what's going on?
Like many organizations, this town is run by people who know when to show up and then show up. If you want to be one of those people, the bar is pretty low -- but you do still have to show up. If you think there's an election coming up, the town web site has a calendar, and if that doesn't have the information a phone call or email to the town clerk will give the answer.
But just knowing about an election doesn't tell you about the issues, and don't expect "the town" to fill you in. For obvious reasons, the town is officially neutral on all ballot issues, so beyond providing the basic facts you're on your own. That's where other sources come in -- the newspapers, MCTV, this corkboard, whatever. You don't need cable to watch MCTV -- you can watch it on Vimeo (I just learned that tonight, though it may be old news to some :-)).
Signs are costly? the way the town pisses money away over the years I'm sure a few signs won't break the bank. Just don't put a lawn sign on the old Monty center school, the grass is getting too high to see it. Looking like a slum lord owns the joint
Signs work, but they're costly, you have to pay people to put them up and take them down, and they get vandalized or stolen. I'd be satisfied with posts on this site (far more trivial things than elections get posted here regularly) and an opt-in email or robo-call system, both of which would be inexpensive, environmentally friendly and efficient.
I strongly agree with the last post - and raised the issue at town hall yesterday. The town should shell out for at least 100 signs that can be put up the week before the election. Maybe this should not be necessary in the best of all possible worlds but if it increases turnout it is worth it.
As far as the second selectboard election in June, that was made necessary by Pat Allen resigning before her term was up. She resigned after the process for the May election was well under way so they really had no choice but to have another election. They piggybacked it on to the special election for U.S. Senate caused by Kerry being appointed to Sec. of State.
I think many people found out about the election from the vote here signs on election day so I think the town only needs to put up a preelection sign a week early. I do not think it is the town's responsiblity to post it at stores or gas stations. I don't know the legal reguirement but I vaguely require having to post in the local paper and posting at the town hall is the minimum that a town has to do.
If people are informed in advanced then they can get informed as to what/who is on the ballot.
"As long as those idiots still keep paying taxes to the town, it all works out"
I would never call Mike an idiot, far from it. Which is why this reaction surprises me.
I don't think the civic duty to vote necessarily includes scouring the newspaper to find out when the next election is, when said election has not been mentioned on this site, and was not mentioned, that I recall, at the recent Town Meeting. I can't get cable and we stopped getting the paper because, honestly, we never read it. I buy it when there is something I want to read, and I would have done so if I'd heard a single peep about the election. All I heard was that someone I know is running for Selectboard, and I heard no mention of when. I do agree that the town seems to have little trouble letting us know when we owe them money, and I hold that it is their responsibility to let the voters know when to go to the polls. Again, especially when one's polling place has been moved to a remote spot that few people in the Precinct go by regularly.
"Seriously? Even though several people have now stated they had no clue there was an election, you'd rather see none of us vote because we're all uninformed idiots who put random Xes on the ballot? But you also want to complain about low turnout. Am I missing anything?"
Typical thinking. As long as those idiots still keep paying taxes to the town, it all works out
"I wonder how much the cost would be to post a sign a week before at the local stores, gas stations , watering holes , package stores and the 3 post offices. That would kind of cover almost all of the folks. Just an non Montagueite offering a suggestion.. ED"
Not much I'm sure, but the town could always pay for a study to find out . The town seems to have no problem letting people know when it's time to pay them.
"I don't care if people read newspapers or not, and I'd prefer that people who need to see signs on their way to work end up not voting because they didn't see a sign -- I'd rather have that than have to count the votes of a bunch of people who randomly marked "X"es on ballots while thinking they were doing the rest of us a favor. Don't kid yourselves -- you're not doing anyone a favor. If your lives are too full of other things to pay attention to how the town in which you live is governed, then fine -- you'll get no criticism from me. Just don't complain when those of us who do try to pay attention don't bend over backwards to keep you informed. We're busy, too."
Seriously? Even though several people have now stated they had no clue there was an election, you'd rather see none of us vote because we're all uninformed idiots who put random Xes on the ballot? But you also want to complain about low turnout. Am I missing anything?
I wonder how much the cost would be to post a sign a week before at the local stores, gas stations , watering holes , package stores and the 3 post offices. That would kind of cover almost all of the folks. Just an non Montagueite offering a suggestion.. ED
having signs up on the day of the voting seems to be how several people on this site found out about the election, so there for signs work. There is legitimate concern about people voting who have no clue about the candidates. The easiest solution would be a different color sign put up a week ahead of time that there is going to be an election which would give time to people who care to research what and who is on the ballot.
I think the lack of effort of candidates to get the word out about themselves seemed fairly evident. If the candidates appear apathtic then why shouldn't the voters be too?
If turn out was only 9% , either people did not know or did not care. I'm quite sure a little more effort could have been made to notify town residents. Not all of us are sitting around all day watching the weather channel and local access.
Just to be clear, I didn't mean to chastise anybody for not reading the newspaper; I just pointed out to people who were complaining about not knowing about yesterday's election that if they _did_ read the newspaper they might have known about it, since it was in the newspaper. I also wondered how they would learn about the different candidates if they don't read newspapers, since in my experience newspapers have been the best source for that information.
People around the world are bleeding and dying for the chance to have a voice in their government. To them, I think, this whole thread would seem nuts, if not obscene. We are lucky enough to live in a place where government "by the people" is a given -- at least at the local level -- and "the people" respond by saying, "Whut? How come nobody told me? Next time, put a sign up on my way to work, or post something on my Facebook page, or send me a tweet, and maybe I'll do you the favor of showing up to vote in your -- what is this election about, again?" How ridiculous must that look to someone who doesn't share that sense of complacency and self-entitlement?
I don't care if people read newspapers or not, and I'd prefer that people who need to see signs on their way to work end up not voting because they didn't see a sign -- I'd rather have that than have to count the votes of a bunch of people who randomly marked "X"es on ballots while thinking they were doing the rest of us a favor. Don't kid yourselves -- you're not doing anyone a favor. If your lives are too full of other things to pay attention to how the town in which you live is governed, then fine -- you'll get no criticism from me. Just don't complain when those of us who do try to pay attention don't bend over backwards to keep you informed. We're busy, too.
according to WHAI the voter turnout was just above 9% and all the incumbents won.
There are laws on the books about towns being required to give notice that in today's world may seem a bit out of date with today's technology.
For state and federal elections the biggest notice to voters is the paid politic ads that are designed to be everywhere.
I do not recall seeing any yard signs for candidates for this election so the question is it the fault of the town (since there were no ballot issues) and more the fault of the candidates (most were unopposed)?
And how many would REMEMBER if they got a notice a day or so ahead. Hell some of you folks can't even figure out the recycle schedule. Stop crabbing and be accountable for yourself and stop asking to have some one take you by the hand. I'm sure even if they did that there would be crying they didn't call first. Seems that (according to my old dude) there were at least 75 folks in Millers paying attention. Still a pee poor turnout out of 900 voters......... Up here on the mountain we sure as hell vote and pay attention to OUR town... Stay safe with the storms coming ED.
Mr. N. Maybe if the town PICKED them up and took them to the polls they would be more likely to vote.( Sarcasim)...Sounds like the old it ain't my fault syndrome so prevelant on this website.IE town meeting attendance. When my old dude came out from voting he said the talk inside was more about the next selectmans race..Sorry if the spelling sucks. Haven't had my second cup of coffee yet .Does any one know the outcome??
I stopped buying newspapers when I became unemployed and couldn't afford it. (job classifieds were online).
Usually this forum is pretty good about mentioning things like local elections. But this election nobody mentioned it on this forum though I noticed one normal contributer had a letter to the editor in the recorder but did not post here.
May is a very busy time of year and I think our town should look for an opt in for email announcement with a two week notice (with sample ballot) and a notice the Friday before the election so people have time to research candidates and issues.
Robocalling is not a good idea because it doesn't give time for enough information.
Maybe the town could invest in some reusable signs to post before elections that have date of elections before hand so it is not a surprise to see the orange Vote Today signs.
The only reason I voted today was because I saw the signs on the way to work.
It's pretty arrogant to chastise people for not knowing about an election because they no longer "read the paper." Fewer and fewer people do. It's pretty much like complaining people don't hand-write letters anymore. Lost cause. Between candidates who don't bother to campaign and the evolution toward digital media, it's not surprising that people literally stumbled across this election.
If my kid's school can send me robo-calls about meetings that have absolutely nothing to do with her, then any town in MA can do the same about elections. Or they can create an email list for voters to opt in to and send out a reminder the day before an election. The cost would be negligible, and this conversation would become moot.
As for turnout, well, that's another story. You can lead a horse to the voting booth but you can't make him make an X. Because horses doesn't have fingers. And they would always vote neigh.