Election central

18Nov22

For the past few years, we’ve been subjected to endless lectures informing us that voting is incredibly difficult and we must do everything in our power to make it easier for voters to participate in elections. 

Anything less would be VOTER SUPPRESSION! 

We’ve been told that democracy shouldn’t place even the slightest burden on the voter, for whom casting a ballot must not require any effort whatsoever. 

Having the polls open for 13 hours on one day will no longer suffice as it has for countless previous generations of voters. In 2022, voters need at least a month to cast their ballots. 

Remember when “mailing it in” meant performing a task or duty in a perfunctory manner, with little effort or interest? When it comes to voting, “mailing it in” is now a the ideal to be strived for.  

Way back in 2018, the town of Wakefield decided to eliminate neighborhood polling places and have everyone vote in one centralized location at the Galvin Middle School

Centralized voting would make voting fairer and most efficient for everyone, we were told at the time. Voters would be spared the arduous task of learning what precinct they’re in, not to mention the upheaval of figuring out the location of their neighborhood polling place.   

Parking “will not be an issue” with centralized voting at the Galvin, we were assured back in 2018. In fact, ample parking was one of the selling points. 

You might have trouble selling that to the voters who found themselves driving in circles around the Galvin parking on the day of last week’s State Election.  

Local schools have been scheduling “professional development” days to coincide with elections, which at least avoids the chaos of student drop-off and pickup at the same time that people are arriving to vote. 

What doesn’t help, however, is when the faculty and staff are still in the building for “professional development” as they were on Tuesday of last week. The Galvin lot was designed to accommodate the school staff, and that doesn’t leave a lot of parking spaces for voters. Not to mention that the staff likes to park as close to the building as possible.  

Tough luck, disabled voters and senior citizens.  

Frustrated voters took to Facebook to vent. Here’s a sampling of comments. 

“The parking lot is full because I’m pretty sure all the teachers are still in today for PD.”  

“I hung out in a row waiting for someone to leave for over five minutes before parking illegally at the end of a row.” 

“I circled it three times along with 10 other people and ended up parking across the street. My back was not happy.” 

“I had difficulty parking. It should be easier when the teachers leave. I felt bad for the older people looking for a close spot.” 

“The lot was filled at 7:15 and at 9:15 – I agree that professional development is a great use of time on voting day – but not at the location of centralized voting!” 

“They cancelled school for voting but all the staff is there working? Because that makes sense????” 

“I get they need their professional development day but why not go to the high school or another elementary school so the lot isn’t full?”  

“There should be nothing else happening at the Galvin except voting on an Election Day in my opinion. When they discussed voting at only one location, ‘ample parking’ was given as a positive.” 

“Isn’t fair voting access something everyone wants? If it was caused by a professional day – it should be an easy fix.” 

“It shouldn’t be this hard for people who want to vote in person to do so. I miss precinct locations!” 

“I parked by Farmland and walked. If you don’t mind a brisk stroll…” 

It went on and on, but you get the idea.  

And yes, there were some comments from voters who had no trouble parking on Election Day. But that’s irrelevant.

Remember, the new rule is that not one voter is to be subjected to the slightest inconvenience – EVER! Voting is supposed to require zero effort. That’s why we now have early voting and mail-in voting and all these other “reforms.”  

Those are the rules. I didn’t make them. 

If centralized voting is so wonderful, how about centralized professional development for teachers? Isn’t collectivism the ideal? I’m sure the Central Committee would approve.

And now that illegal aliens can get drivers licenses, where are they going to park when they show up to vote? 

People who vote in person on Election Day tend to be “old school,” clinging to such quaint traditions as voting in person on Election Day. A cynic might wonder if the whole point is to discourage Election Day voting.  

Here’s hoping they get the parking figured out before the Special Election on the new high school in a few months.  

Surely we wouldn’t want to discourage anyone from showing up to vote on that day.

[This column originally appeared in the November 17, 2022 Wakefield Daily Item.] 



7 Responses to “Election central”

  1. 1 John Breithaupt

    Neither my wife nor I can walk without the help of a cane, and even with a cane, walking is painful for her because of she has arthritis in both knees. So we appreciate being able to vote by mail.

    • 2 Mark Sardella

      Absentee ballots have always been very easy to get, as they should be for people with health or disability issues.

  2. I’m a NH resident. ( from Wakefield where I lived for over 30 yrs). I vote in person, show my ID, to prove I’m a citizen. The more wrinkles or maybe a better way to state it is voting opportunities offered to vote, the more opportunities exist to cheat. I prefer the way France votes, they all vote on the same day with a paper ballot. Somehow they are able to count the vote on the same day and announce the results. And the population of France, at about 75 million, larger than any state in the US. Is it any wonder that some question our voting policies. And even the results. As Shakespeare wrote, the political class will do about anything to stay in power, and may I add, even weaken the moral fabric of our country.

  3. 5 John Breithaupt

    True, but voting by mail is even more convenient. We didn’t have to ask for the ballots. We didn’t have to remember how to ask for them, or when was the deadline for asking for them. And small conveniences like these mean more and more to us as we get older, and managing the pills, and the bills, and the doctors’ appointments becomes more and more of a challenge.

    • 6 Dr. Ed

      Actually, you *do* have to ask for the ballots — Wakefield is pretty good in requiring that you request absentee ballots each year and not sending them unless/until you do.

      But not ever other community is like this, and there are places where it is not uncommon to get a half dozen ballots with other people’s names on them — folks who used to live there. And there really is nothing preventing you from filling out all those ballots as well.

      France is not exactly a bastion of right wing thought and France has abolished mail in balloting — France requires everyone to show up in person and fill out a paper ballot.

      What does France know that we don’t?

  4. 7 Dr. Ed

    Why, exactly, do we still have precincts?

    We vote as a town, in one central location — why are we spending money to maintain separate precincts. All of our officials serve in an “at large” capacity, and we have an open town meeting. Hence precincts serve no purpose.

    My guess is that this expense, while small in terms of the entire town budget, is not insignificant. Multiple lists have to be updated and maintained, persons told (and reminded) which precinct they live in, etc. Additional people have to be hired (and paid) to work elections.

    So exactly why do we still have them?


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