Town Clerk Should Be Heard: Powers is Right to Seek Vitale’s Input

Thursday, January 19, 2012
By Transcript Staff

It would have been very easy for the Town Council to go ahead and restore the polling place at O’Connell Hall for the Massachusetts Presidential Primary election on March 6. Peg Lyons, executive director of the Housing Authority, and Nancy Williams, executive director of the Senior Center, spoke very articulately (and the Winthrop seniors certainly have outstanding advocates for their interests in these two women) about how moving the polling place from O’Connell Hall will affect many seniors living in the area on election days.

Delbrook Binnis, a veteran of World War II and the Korean War (and to that, we say, “Thank you,” for outstanding service to our country), presented the Council with a petition signed by 200 residents asking that O’Connell Hall on Golden Drive be restored as a polling place,  and ultimately that may happen for the fall elections, including the Presidential Election in November.

But Councilor-at-Large Larry Powers was right in his request for input from Town Clerk Carla Vitale before a vote is taken on polling places in the town. Vitale is in charge of running all aspects of the election and to proceed without her valuable knowledge, experience, and supervision of elections would not have been in the best interests of the process. We applaud Councilor Powers (who has always been a supporter of seniors in his work on the Council) for stepping back and seeing the big picture, namely, that we have a professional person in charge of elections in this town and her voice deserves to be heard.

There seems to be some confusion about who made the original decision to move the polling place from O’Connell Hall to the Senior Center, but it was noted last night that the minutes of the June 21 meeting indicate that the Council voted to institute the change. Vitale was thus carrying out the directive from the Council, but one councilor, James Letterie, has asked WCAT Executive Director Mike Cabral for a tape of the meeting, so Letterie will clarify the issue at the next meeting when a reconsideration vote may occur.

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