, Salem, MA

Local News

October 23, 2013

School board vs. registrars -- no decision


“They’ll bring food to poll workers. They’ll pick up the cost of police details.” Horrific things have happened in schools, he said before positing, “If you went to (police) Chief (Robert) Champagne and told him we’re going to have voting at the police station, he’d tell you to go fly a kite.”

Registrar Judith Blodgett mused on that before pointing out that she’s never asked the chief about voting in his police station. She rejected the idea of voting at the mall as those who don’t go to the mall to shop won’t go there to vote, she said. Other communities have tried to establish a single voting location, she said, only to find it “was a disaster.”

The registrars agreed that they are constantly reviewing procedures and looking for better places to put their ballot boxes. Blodgett expressed interest in a suggestion that voters could cast ballots at the city golf club. Other than that, she indicated, all school board suggestions have already been considered and rejected.

“I feel like we vetted these to the nth degree,” Blodgett said. “I suppose we could revisit it. I don’t know if we’d have different results.”

Board member Beverley Griffin-Dunne, a lone school voice against removing the ballot boxes, said, “I just think it is our duty to work with the city and find places for polling.” She noted that some voters are loath to cast a ballot in private facilities, especially those used for religious services.

All parties agreed to meet again to discuss the issue on Dec. 10.

Alan Burke can be reached at

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