Thursday, Feb. 6
- Planning Board/Select Board ADU Ad Hoc Subcommittee Work Session, 4 p.m., library
Friday, Feb. 7
- Finance Committee with Select Board Budget Task Force, 2 p.m., Town Hall
Monday, Feb. 10
- Open Space Committee, 3 p.m.,Town Hall
Tuesday, Feb. 11
- Select Board, 5 p.m., Town Hall
Machine Voting Is Adopted
The hand-crank voting machines used by Truro since 1964 will be a thing of the past as of Sept. 1, 2020. The select board voted unanimously to replace them with automated vote-counting machines. The decision was reached just days before a technology glitch threw a wrench into the Iowa Democratic caucus voting and had experts discussing a return to all-manual voting methods.
Selectman Robert Weinstein asked if the machine is connected to the internet. The answer was no, though an internet connection is not necessary for a voting machine to be compromised.
Assistant Town Manager Kelly Clark listed the supposed benefits of such a machine, manufactured by Dominion Voting of Canada and sold and serviced by LHS Associates of Andover. It’s accurate, more secure than hand-counting ballots, and easier to use, she said.
The one she chose is the same model recently picked by Wellfleet and Eastham.
From the voters’ perspective, not too much will change, Clark said. Voters would check in on election day, fill out the ballot, and then feed the ballot into the machine themselves, Clark said. From the town clerk’s perspective, the local ballot must be sent to LHS three weeks before the election for programing. Throughout voting day, the machine will collect the ballots. It holds 3,000 ballots, and since Truro has only 1,849 registered voters, the box won’t have to be emptied.
While the same number of greeters and “floaters” must be on hand to handle voter turnout, the number of counters will be way down.
“We had 17 people at the 2016 election,” Clark told the select board on Jan. 28.
The current hand-crank machine is from 1964 and “those parts are getting harder and harder to replace,” Clark said. She did not say when the last time a part needed replacement.
Joel Bergeron, general manager of LHS Associates, told the select board at a presentation in Wellfleet that the machine comes with a two-year warranty.
The new machine itself costs $5,200, with annual maintenance of $200 plus a $500 to $1,000 programming cost per election, depending on the complexity of the ballot, Clark told the Independent.
“That beautiful hand-crank machine should be donated to the Highland Museum,” said Select Board Member Sue Areson.
Voters will have a couple of elections, a special on Feb. 18 and the annual on May 12, to say final goodbyes to the wooden hand-cranked voting machines. Now the only town on the Outer Cape to use them is Provincetown. —K.C. Myers