To the editor:
As the recently retired Beverly city clerk, subscriber to the Independent, and part-time resident of Provincetown, I was quite interested in your Feb. 13 letter from the editor (“It Ain’t Broke”). While I can understand some nostalgic feelings for the old hand-crank ballot boxes, and of course respect my friend Provincetown Clerk Darlene Van Alstyne’s comment that “hand counting is a ‘well-loved tradition,’ ” your editorial contained a number of factual errors.
To begin with, the Image Cast Tabulator recently purchased by Wellfleet is the same one we bought in Beverly three years ago. We purchased 13 of them. We chose the Image Cast over the other state-certified voting machine as it met all our requirements for security, support, and training availability.
You reported that the machines are not connected to the internet, but you then stated that some voting machines have modems, which can be compromised even if not internet-connected. But the Image Cast Tabulators, in addition to not being connected to the internet, do not contain modems.
You also made reference to the Iowa caucuses, which relied on a new, untested software program, nothing like the Image Cast Tabulators (nor their competitors, for that matter), making that observation irrelevant. To reinforce the validity of Wellfleet’s decision (and our own in Beverly), I refer you to my “Election Year Message” from the Beverly city website:
beverlyma.gov/departments/city-clerk/election-year-message/, which explains this in more detail, along with all Massachusetts cities’ and towns’ use of paper ballots, and the state’s Voter Registration Information System being a “closed” system operated over private-line data circuits, and also not over the internet.
We certainly support the Independent’s additional coverage of the four towns. Here’s hoping that future editorials will be better researched, that your readers not be misinformed on such important issues.
Wesley Slate Jr.
Provincetown and Beverly
A Gem of a Swamp
To the editor:
Thank you for covering Wesley Swamp, a certified vernal pool and priority habitat for a breeding population of the threatened spadefoot toad (Feb. 13, page 4).
The public benefit of this wetland resource hasn’t been realized because of conflicting interests due to its downtown location; nevertheless, its location is precisely its greatest asset.
With the proximity of public parking and adjacency to a town park, Wesley Swamp is accessible: easily visited and appreciated by people of all ages and abilities.
Moreover, a vernal pool protected and appreciated in the heart of downtown is consistent with and even symbolic of demonstrated town values. Wellfleet’s enclave of Bauhaus architects sought a balance between man and nature, a value that has been maintained by Wellfleet Planning Board policy and projects such as the Herring River Restoration.
Unfortunately, this unrealized gem has suffered artificial manipulation of its water level, invasive vegetation, unsightly littering, and designation by some as a nuisance. Its degradation only feeds further into being held in negative regard.
What an outstanding testament it would be to our town to find a way to have this natural resource restored and appreciated.
Restoring the River
To the editor:
As a business owner and abutter to phase one of the Herring River Restoration, I enthusiastically support this worthy effort. Action to reverse a century of tidal restriction will achieve near-term economic and ecological benefits by remediating violations of several Clean Water Act standards resulting from bacterial contamination at the Chequessett Neck Road dike. Restored salt marshes will enhance resiliency to storm surges and sea level rise, and a healthy estuary will better support the wildlife, shellfish, and fish species that are foundational to the regional economy.
Restoring the health of the Herring River estuary is a critical element of any sound regional strategy to maintain the vitality of Cape Cod for future generations.