Down to Two: Poll Locations an Issue
Town Clerk Carla Vitale conducted an impeccable election in November and the whole process ran smoothly from start to finish. The poll workers were courteous and helpful. The Winthrop Police did their usual standout job of securing the poll locations and making sure that every resident’s voting experience was safe and orderly. And Carla Vitale’s staff was accessible and professional through the registration of voters, distribution and certification of nomination papers, and ultimately the tabulation of votes on Election Day.
It was one of the busiest and most exciting town elections in quite some time with Peter Gill winning by a close margin over incumbent Council President Jeffrey Turco.
Which all brings us to the issue of the change of polling places in the town. The Town Council voted to decrease the number of polling locations from three to two (Winthrop Senior Center and Winthrop Middle School) beginning this year. O’Connell Hall on Golden Drive will be no longer used for elections and that decision isn’t sitting well with some of our senior residents who have been making their displeasure known publicly. But they shouldn’t be directing their ire at Carla Vitale, for she is only carrying out the decision made by the Town Council.
If the Town Council feels that O’Connell Hall should be reinstated as a polling location, they can bring it up at the very next Council meeting on Jan. 17. It is a decision that has to be made quickly (the Massachusetts Presidential Primary is March. 6), so our town clerk can notify all the voters in the town. The issue is really one of new Council President Peter Gill’s first tests of gauging what is in the best interests of the town and you can be sure that Mr. Gill will have talked it over with residents of Golden Drive by the time of the next meeting.