SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

Local News

February 12, 2014

Voters likely out at Higgins

(Continued)

“More and more locations have come,” she said, suggesting these could work out even better for voters. “It’s just one step of many to get back to the educational process. ... In my opinion, it’s a proactive step.”

Carpenter predicted other cities and towns will soon be taking the same steps.

Spanos fielded questions from the School Committee regarding voting at other places. Of Smith Barn on Felton Street, he said, “You go out onto a large grassy, uneven area. Walking at night is difficult. And then you throw in the elderly.”

The barn at Brooksby Farm isn’t heated, and fall is their busiest time, Spanos said.

“With all due respect,” School Committee member Ed Charest said, “October and November is the busiest time for the schools, too.”

Carpenter withdrew a motion that would have required moving voting booths from Higgins and Burke schools.

Members Dave McGeney and Jarrod Hochman wanted to rely instead on the good faith of the registrars.

“I don’t think it’s necessary or productive to kick you out of the schools,” McGeney said.

“I’m not going to question the places that you picked,” Griffin-Dunne told the registrars. “It’s not my job. And I’m sorry you had to do this.”

She raised the possibility that the schools could continue to allow voting with a few changes.

“Somebody can’t use the gym that day. That to me is a small sacrifice to being part of the community,” she said.

The School Committee and the Board of Registrars is planning another meeting in 30 or 45 days to plan for future voting locations.

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