By K.B. Sherman,
Grafton – The 2015 fall Town Meeting on Oct.19 got off to a lively start when a voter angrily interrupted Town Moderator Ray Mead’s instructions as Mead was explaining the new electronic voting procedure and the electronic device issued to each voter before the meeting started.
As Mead was explaining how the TV remote-type device worked and was to be used, a voter came to his feet and demanded, that before the meeting continued, that there be a public display of the system’s accuracy before voting began. He insisted that everyone first press “1 for yes” and all votes compared to the total assembly, then press “2 for no” and again have a tally. Mead rejected this demand and tried to calm the voter who was becoming visibly more upset. As Mead tried to speak, the voter turned to the voters and loudly claimed that electronic voting violated voting law and town law, and that the procedure could be invisibly manipulated to give a result other than what it was supposed to tally and that “the democratic process was under fire.” He kept yelling over Mead, who pleaded with the voter to not talk over him.
Finally, Mead directed Police Chief Normand A. Crepeau Jr. to remove the man, saying “This the first time I’ve ever had to do this.” As Crepeau moved to eject the man, the voter left the auditorium on his own.
After the commotion, all articles passed with the exception of Article 14, (CPC weights and measures cabinet restoration) which was passed over.)
Article 16 dealt with funding substantial repairs needed for water damage on Stowe Road. Between 38 and 40 Stowe Road, a huge gully (eight feet wide and four feet deep) has been carved by long-time water runoff down the steep terrain, creating a hazard. The article called for an appropriation of $850,000 to study and then repair the damage to the land which officially belongs to the town although it runs between two private homes.
Ken Ware, 40 Stowe Drive, then showed slides of the extensive damage to the land. The Finance Committee then suggested that this article be replaced by an amendment to appropriate $50,000 from the Road Stabilization Fund for an engineering study to determine what should be done next. The amended article was passed.
Article 21, which again sought a bylaw to keep dogs from fouling town cemeteries and other public areas, was narrowly passed, by a 122-118 vote.