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Author Topic: LT - In the Hands of the Voters  (Read 781 times)
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« on: August 19, 2010, 10:49:50 PM »

Editorial from the Londonderry Times

In the Hands of the Voters

When a town decides to change its charter, the process is clear and quick. A charter commission with a specific mission is proposed to voters, who decide whether to establish the group, and then elect its membership.

That process, which began for Londonderry at the March election this year, is coming to the conclusion of its first stage, with the commission's draft report under preparation, to be sent to the state for review by the end of the month.

Stage two comes next March, when town voters decide whether to change government in the Town of Londonderry to official ballot voting - commonly known as the SB 2 or Senate Bill 2 style of government.

That leaves the decision entirely in the hands of the voters, as it should be. The charter commission makes a formal recommendation; then its job is finished.

The voters approved the establishment of a charter commission. The voters elected its membership. Nine were chosen from a field of 21 candidates. The voters had the opportunity - sadly, few took it - to offer their opinions on the prospective govermental change to the charter commission during its many public meetings. And in March, the voters will have their say on whether official ballot voting comes to Londonderry town government.

While the nine-member commission was not all of one mind - and that's a good thing, lending itself to debate - it's hard to accept that it was "hijacked," as some have claimed. When people hold different opinions when it comes to how a government is to function, one side will have the majority. And in a democracy, the majority "wins."

The majority of charter commissioners decided - in public - to offer voters the chance to change the town's form of government to official ballot. The majority of voters wouldn't have approved establishing a charter commission if they didn't think change might be beneficial. And if they don't like the majority's recommendation to change to official ballot voting, they can vote no in March.

But the majority of the charter commission is willing to give voters that choice. And that's about as far from hijacking as you can get.

Glenn Douglas
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