To the Editor:
On April 23 Shrewsbury Town Meeting members voted 55% to 45 % to ban recreational sales of marijuana. The clear majority reflected the same percentage town-wide outcome from back in 2016, which banned recreational marijuana. The Town Meeting members did their job and reflected the will of the registered voters. Kudos to them.
The Board of Selectmen (BOS) included zoning in the articles. So the ban needed 67% instead of a 50+% majority required without zoning. No kudos for the BOS.
Only 240 town meeting members got to vote. 24,000 (99%) potential votes were suppressed due to the town meeting format . All the BOS had to do was remove the zoning content or let the voters decide at the May 1st town-wide election. Northborough did it. Why not Shrewsbury?
According to Wikipedia, “Voter suppression is a strategy to influence the outcome of an election by discouraging or preventing specific groups from voting. It is distinguished from political campaigning in that campaigning attempts to change likely voting behavior by changing the opinions of potential voters through persuasion and organization. Voter suppression, instead, attempts to reduce the number of voters who might vote against a candidate or proposition.”
Many residents are angry. They believe their votes were suppressed. They feel betrayed and the BOS had a strategy (i.e. to include zoning references) to suppress the vote and nullify the will of the majority. The outcome of the April 23 special town meeting should be invalidated due to voter suppression.
Benjamin Tartaglia, Town Meeting Member Precinct 6