Changes Needed To Increase Voter Turnout
To the Editor:
Fewer than two out of every ten of our town's eligible voters came out to vote at our town's annual budget referendum, and top elected officials express dismay at turnout, as reported by your paper last week. Additionally, Paul Lundquist, Legislative Council chairman, lamenting over our low voter turnout, feels it is time to "take the burden off the public" and allow elected officials to speak for them on budget matters.
Mr Lundquist, I don't need you or any elected town official taking my right to vote for our town's budget away.
Can our town raise the bar any higher for residents who wish to vote? I suggest our town's top elected officials spend time considering the root causes of our low voter turnout. Here's a starting point. Hold the referendum on a single weekday when many residents are working and away from town. Choose one polling location at the center of town so working commuters living along the edge of town will need to add up to an hour to their day to cast their vote. Offer an absentee ballot to voters but then rescind by excluding most through strict eligibility requirements and the need to appear in person at our Municipal Center. Submit voters to an arduous process of obtaining a paper ballot once at the polling location.
One way to increase our voter turnout is to offer secure online voting to residents. Why are we still voting the same way we did many decades ago before the internet and smartphones even existed? If our town's top officials really want higher voter turnout, changes need to be made to the way residents are allowed to vote. Taking away resident's right to vote must be taken off the table. Technology must be put on the table.
As I read your paper's coverage of our budget vote last week, our town's top elected officials weren't the only one's expressing dismay over the low voter turnout. You can add me to the list.
Robert W. Katrinak
5 Avalon Way, Sandy HookÃÂ ÃÂ ÃÂ ÃÂ ÃÂ May 1, 2018