Westborough to look into electronic voting for town meetings
By Bonnie Adams, Managing Editor
Westborough – Now that some time has passed since the town’s massive Annual Town Meeting, which was held over 10 hours in March, officials are seeking ways to help expedite the processes during future town meetings in the hopes that more voters will participate. They are also cognizant of the fact that not all voters feel comfortable publicly voting on an issue either by show of hands or by a standing count.
One idea the board is assessing is the utilization of electronic voting. At the Board of Selectmen’s May 15 meeting, the board discussed this option with Town Moderator Joseph Harrington.
Harrington told the board that he and several other town officials recently went the town of Wayland to observe how the electronic voting process works there.
“I think it could help with our attendance,” he said, “but it would change the demographics of our meetings.”
The board approved his request to establish an ad-hoc committee that will contact vendors regarding pricing and the possibility of doing a trial run at this fall’s Special Town Meeting.
The committee will consist of Harrington, Town Clerk Nancy Yendriga, Selectman George Barrette, Ed Behn, chair of the Advisory Finance Committee, and one other official yet to be named.
In other business, the board also approved a change to the vacation policy for the town’s non-union employees. Assistant Town Manager Kristi Williams told the board that because vacation time accrued from the first day of the fiscal year, many employees ended up taking the final days owed to them at the end of the fiscal year. Changing the policy to the employee’s anniversary date would help “stagger the ‘use it or lose it’ dates,” she said.
The board also approved its summer meeting schedule. During July and August, it will meet once a month; Tuesday, July 9 and Tuesday, August 13, starting at 6 p.m. in the board’s meeting room in Town Hall.
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