Pols on Polls: Letterie Expects Decision on Polling Locations at Next Meeting

 Councilor James Letterie expects the Town Council to vote at the Feb. 7 Council meeting on the issue of whether the poll location for Precinct 4 should be returned to O’Connell Hall on Golden Drive for the fall elections.

Last June the Council voted unanimously to move the polling location from O’Connell Hall to the Winthrop Senior Center beginning with the Massachusetts Presidential Primary on March 6, 2012.

Seniors came to the last Council meeting and urged the Council to reinstate O’Connell Hall as the polling location, citing easier accessibility and convenience.

At the last meeting Councilor-at-Large Larry Powers made a motion “for purposes of discussing” the issue, but no vote was taken. Powers felt that Town Clerk Carla Vitale should be invited to a meeting to give her input on the issue.

Letterie wanted to review the videotape of the June 21 meeting when the Council cast its unanimous vote for the change in polling locations. There had been some discrepancy about whether the Council did in fact vote on the matter, but Letterie confirmed that the minutes of the meeting were accurate and there was a unanimous vote.

Despite the articulate arguments presented by seniors and Winthrop Housing Authority Executive Director Peg Lyons on the matter, Letterie said he will most likely vote to keep the polling places as they exist, meaning Golden Drive and Kennedy Drive residents would have to cast their ballots at the Senior Center in future elections.

“Seven months ago after a public forum and a year of discussing the issue, we as a Council voted unanimously to change the polling places – and I feel comfortable with that vote,” said Letterie.

Letterie was quick to state his vote should not be construed as “a vote against the seniors.”

“That’s not an accurate statement – my mother is a senior – I’m certainly not against the seniors,” said Letterie. “But I’m for what the majority of the people in the town feel is the right thing to do. The seniors at our last meeting made extremely eloquent remarks and I was impressed. But those views may not reflect all the views of the seniors. There are many seniors in Precinct 4 that don’t live on Golden Drive.”

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