Westborough Tries Electronic Voting

I attended (with Wayland's moderator Dennis Berry), Westborough's first trial usage of Electronic Voting for their open town meeting on Monday evening October 21st, 2013.

This one and only fall session of Westborough's town meeting was held at their high school 90 West Main Streetin their spacious auditorium (with very comfortable, padded seats I must say !).

The meeting got started at 7PM and there was about 45 minutes of respectful debate and Q & A on the subject of whether the town should use electronic voting or not. From first living through all this in Wayland, I had a deja-vu' moment when I heard the many supporting and dissenting comments and concerns. (See our FAQ) The Westborough officials certainly did their homework and I give a nod to Mr. David Bernstein (chairman ELVIS) who had visited with Westborough and shared the detailed procedures created and learned in Wayland.

Westborough at about 7:45PM voted by show of hands (colored paddles) to accept electronic voting for that town meeting by about an 85% to 15% margin (as visualized by myself from the of auditorium).

There was an upfront test vote which always shakes out a few handsets which are either not on (so we turn them on) or a handset of two which was not properly registered (so we replace them with registered handsets). From there, the town meeting proceeded in a normal fashion except when it came time to vote. The moderated opened the voting window, the light bulb went on and the town meeting set in calm silence and privacy and voted. The light bulb turned off and the moderated called out the results.

An initial 10 keypad 'audit' procedure was initiated by the moderator to get confidence. The audit passed 100%.

I left the meeting at about 9:30PM but I was later told that at 11PM Westborough considered article 28 - to accept electronic voting once again for the spring of 2014.

The article passed with a 2/3rd's to 1/3rd margin. The quantum of vote was 50%.

Westborough will use electronic voting again in 2014. Other Massachusetts towns are still in the works and the most recent Massachusetts Moderator's Association showed a very high interest in this technology.

ElectronicVoting.info 2013