There will be important state and congressional elections this fall. It’s just not known yet at which polling locations Winthrop resident will be casting their ballots.
Town Clerk Carla Vitale had previously brought forth a plan to decrease the number of polling locations (from three to possibly one) as a means of slicing expenses for election day operations. The town currently uses three locations (middle school, high school, and O’Connell Hall on Golden Drive) for elections.
The Cummings School was under consideration for being the one polling location open on election day but Lee Dzedulionis, chairperson of the Winthrop Commission on Disabilities, opposed that idea at Tuesday night’s Council meeting.
“It is my opinion that this proposal for a single polling place is not a viable solution,” said Dzedulionis. “There would be additional expenses for personnel and accommodations that would negate any savings.”
Town Council Jeffrey Turco said the School Committee was not supportive of using the Cummings School as a polling site because it would mean canceling the school day at that site for those two days.
Vitale said another scenario could be changing the polling location for residents from Precincts 3 and 6 (high school) and Precinct 4 (O’Connell Hall) to the Senior Center.
“This would still realize a savings of $2,500 per election and it would alleviate a timing issue when and if the high school undergoes renovation,” said Vitale. “So my proposal would be move Precincts 3, 4, and 6, and put them in the Senior Center.”
Councilor Jeanne Maggio said she would like to see Precinct 4 voting remain at O’Connell Hall.
“We have a great deal of seniors who live there and they can walk to the polling place,” said Maggio. “I never minimize the amount of money we can save but I’m also looking at it from a senior citizen’s point of view and if it’s more convenient for the majority of them to still stay in Precinct 4, I don’t feel the savings cost is worth having to run a shuttle or set people up at certain times for the shuttle.”
Vitale said she would like to make a decision [with input from the Board of Registrars) on the issue within the next six weeks in order to be able to give voters sufficient notification of any changes for the September election.