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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Wayland MA 463 Old Conn Path

    Lightbulb Electronic solution for fixing Town Meeting

    Update: 12/19/09
    A petitioners article has been filed for the annual town meeting May 2010 on Electronic Voting.
    As part of the educational and research process supporting this article, the following website has been created:

    [This is a work in progress and will updated as new information becomes available]
    Update: 12/5/09
    Additional Research with Pricing can be obtained via these two document links

    Document: Bringing Electronic Voting to Wayland Town Meeting
    Document: Options Technology Quote for 2,000 keypad system
    Although this subject was broached on the 2/3rds thread, I felt that it is important enough to standalone and consider both here in this forum and throughout the town. Clearly, Town Meeting needs help and Jeff Dieffenbach has nicely outlined a laundry list of items to consider, some procedural, some logistical and one electronic.

    The first time I became aware of the notion of an electronic system for voting at town meeting was in October 2006 when a 'Hillary' (at the time a 10th grader) sent a letter to Peter Gossels about the possibility of using cell phones as voting instruments at town meeting. Peter Gossels forwarded the letter to me for commentary.

    Hillary's idea was novel and although had merit, there were technical difficulties that were insurmountable. Granted, the cellular solution would have eliminated a large expense because people carried their own cell phones, there was still the integration of those cell phones into a system which would provide security, counting and control. All possible but way beyond the resources and capability of a municipality. This would have a better project for Motorola or Qualcomm in conjunction with Microsoft. Along with that cellular idea was the fact that people outside of the town meeting hall would be able to vote and, as much as well all may fantasize voting from home, it is not legal to do that in Massachusetts. Town board meeting members can only participate in-person and town citizens can only vote in person at Town Meeting. This is state law.

    But electronic voting may be the single most powerful tool that we could inject into the fix for our town meeting and, I suspect, the town meeting of other towns who face the same challenges that we do.

    About 1 year ago I began to investigate the available technologies which could practically be integrated into this solution and I proffered this idea to town government behind the scenes. I did not receive a warm response from that initial encounter. But today is a different day and our most recent town meeting clearly shows that vote counting can be slow, inaccurate, subject to objection and be divisive. We spend more time counting and re-counting then we do debating.

    I have Webex demos setup for next week to see the most recent electronic offerings and today I published an op-ed in the Crier to re-introduce 'Hillary's' idea... so if you are out there Hillary, I thank you.

    Here is the link to my op-ed piece 11/25/09 Wayland Town Crier:
    Last edited by AlanJReiss; 12-19-2009 at 11:54 AM. Reason: Added reference to petitioners article website


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