Election central

01Mar18

That’s it. I’m never going on vacation again.

Last September, while I was in France for two weeks, the Board of Selectmen voted to end a 400-year tradition and start calling themselves the “Town Council.”

Now, I come back on Tuesday from four days in Florida only to learn that town officials have completely changed the way people vote.

Clearly, they cannot be left alone for a minute.

On Monday, while I was dining al fresco at Harpoon Harry’s in Punta Gorda, the Board of Selectmen was voting to do away with neighborhood polling places. After the April Town Election, everyone will vote at one central location, namely Galvin University.

Currently, the town’s voters cast their ballots in neighborhood locations like the Masonic Building in Montrose, the Most Blessed Sacrament Hall in Greenwood, the Crystal Community Club on the east side of town and the West Side Social Club.

We’re told that some voters have complained that they are “uncomfortable” voting in a church or other religious-affiliated structure like the Masonic Building. (I question how many people today even know that the Masons have a religious connection.)

Others supposedly don’t like voting in a place where alcohol is served, even though it’s not served while voting is going on.

Seriously?

Why are we catering to such intolerance? I thought we had to be accepting of all beliefs and lifestyles. Don’t the twin mandates of diversity and inclusion dictate forcibly exposing people to beliefs and cultures not their own?

Parents who are “uncomfortable” with their kids having to enter transgender bathrooms are called bigots, but people who are offended by having to enter a church get to dictate how the whole town votes?

What about the 85-year-old widow living on Chapman Road who no longer drives but was able to walk around the corner to the Masonic Building to vote? She has no family in the area and is “uncomfortable” asking any of her neighbors to drive her downtown to vote. I’d be willing to bet that there are a lot more people like her in town who will now be disenfranchised than there are people who are truly uncomfortable setting foot in in a church or a social club.

We’ve spent the last few years bending over backwards to make voting “easier” with gimmicks like “early voting” and “automatic registration.” The same people who believe that voting is so arduous that they want to do everything but cast people’s ballots for them, now want to increase the distance that practically everyone in town has to travel in order to vote.

We even “preregister” kids in high school to vote. When they turn 18, their registration is automatically activated, sparing these youths the onerous journey to Town Hall. Yet at the same time we want to increase the distance that everyone else, including senior citizens, has to travel every time they want to exercise their right to vote.

With our busy lives and online everything, we’ve lost so many of the neighborhood social connections we used to hold dear. We have fewer neighborhood schools. The neighborhood grocer has been replaced by the supermarket and chain convenience stores. CVS and Walgreens have replaced the corner drug store/soda fountain. And after next month, the neighborhood polling place will be a thing of the past too.

I’d ask what’s next, but I’m not sure there’s anything left.

[This column originally appeared in the March 1, 2018 Wakefield Daily Item.]

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2 Responses to “Election central”

  1. 1 Mork Sardolla

    Boooooooo. Bad article is bad.

    • 2 Mark Sardella

      You really shouldn’t be using your employer’s computers to harass people. Does your boss at Dana Farber know you’re reading and commenting on blogs on work time?


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