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The original item was published from 12/6/2017 10:21:00 AM to 12/11/2017 1:09:26 PM.

News Flash

Town Clerk

Posted on: December 5, 2017

[ARCHIVED] Technology Taking a New Role for Special Town Meeting on 12/11/2017

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Voters at the Special Town Meeting on Monday, Dec. 11 will notice technology taking a new role. An electronic check-in process will replace the traditional paper-and-pencil method, and voters will cast their votes using a new electronic voting system.


Electronic check-in is expected to speed that process, according to Town Clerk Dawn Varley. As voters are checked in, they will be issued a small, remote-control-like device that they will use to vote at the Special Town Meeting. This device is expected to speed voting, particularly on close votes when standing counts have been traditionally conducted, and ensure accuracy in the counts. Results will be displayed on a screen visible to all voters.



The Town’s Electronic Voting Study Committee evaluated the method and recommended adopting it on a one-year trial basis, then leaving it up to voters to determine its future use. The 2017 Annual Town Meeting adopted the recommendation and voted to fund electronic voting for a year. The town expects to rent the system from Turning Technologies for the 2018 Annual Town Meeting, and the firm has offered to let this year’s Special Town Meeting use it for free.


 

“This will be a good opportunity to try out this new method so voters and town officials can get acclimated to its use,” said Town Moderator Michael Seele. “The technology is very easy to use and a representative from the vendor will be on hand to provide instruction to voters.”


The hand-held voting device is about the size of a small pocket calculator. Although there are several numbered buttons on it, only numbers 1 and 2 function. Voters will press 1 to vote “yes,” and 2 to vote “no.” They will have 10 seconds to cast their votes and may change their votes during that time frame. At the end of the 10-second period, the system will count the last number pressed as the voter’s choice. The final aggregate tally will be displayed on a screen. The devices will register the votes anonymously so individual voters cannot be linked to specific votes.


The devices have no function outside the meeting and bins will be provided to collect them as voters leave the meeting.


 

Special Town Meeting will convene at 7:30 p.m. on Monday, Dec. 11 at Town Hall. At least 150 registered Whitman voters must be present before the meeting can begin. 


 


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