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Author Topic: LT - Yes on Article 2  (Read 956 times)
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« on: March 05, 2011, 08:40:11 PM »

Editorial from the Londonderry Times 3/3/2011

Yes on Article 2

Londonderry residents have the opportunity Tuesday, March 8, to change how they vote.

Article 2, the charter question, asks voters if they wish to change from Town Meeting to Official Ballot Voting, commonly known as SB 2. A yes vote would eliminate the Budgetary Town Meeting that currently occurs on the Saturday following the Tuesday election in March, and would replace it with a Budgetary Deliberative Session held weeks before the election.

At the Budgetary Town Meeting, the vote is final. At a Deliberative Session, voters can offer amendments to the budget, discuss their views, and vote on changes. Those changes - or the original budget items, if no changes occur - would then appear on the March Town Meeting secret ballot.

No quorum is required for the Deliberative Session, just as no quorum exists for Budgetary Town Meeting.

Here are the basics.

Right now, Londonderry voters cast ballots at the Tuesday March election - in the privacy of the voting booth - on all school warrant articles, town bond articles, and the election of town and school candidates. Then, on the following Saturday morning, voters attend Budgetary Town Meeting, where the remaining town money articles are discussed and voted on.

If you have to be out of town or in the hospital or in the military for the Tuesday election in March, you can complete an absentee ballot and have your views counted. But if you have to be out of town or in the hospital or in the military - or attending college or holding down a Saturday job or spending the winter in Florida -  you currently are deprived of having a say on any of the town money warrant articles. The only way to vote at Budgetary Town Meeting is to be there in person, and stay for as long as it takes to go through all the warrant articles.

This year, that's nine articles, ranging from the $25.7 million town budget to ratification of a union contract to putting money in the capital reserve fund - all significant items for voters to ponder. This year, if you aren't at Budgetary Town Meeting, you can't vote.

Approving Article 2 would change that. Every warrant article would be voted on at the Tuesday March election. And you could vote absentee.

Budgetary Town Meeting fails to attract a crowd, with far fewer people present than those casting ballots Tuesday.

Fewer and fewer residents are making the financial decisions that directly impact taxpayers' wallets. But with SB2, the numbers should rise sharply. Residents would vote once - at the Tuesday election.

SB2 gives more people a say on spending issues that affect everyone. And the more people who have a say, the better.

Vote yes on Article 2.

Glenn Douglas
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