Jim Pistrang pitches his electronic voting idea to Amherst Select Board
256-year-old Amherst Town Meeting could amble into the 21st Century if a majority of the 240+ members support the recommendation of the newly announced Amherst Town Meeting Electronic Voting Committee this coming fall.
The seven member group is the brainchild of Town Meeting Moderator Jim Pistrang, and he will be joined by Town Clerk Sandra Burgess, an IT staff person, one member of the Town Meeting Coordinating Committee and three at large members (not necessarily current Town Meeting members).
According to Mr. Pistrang electronic voting will serve to facilitate three equally important crucial things: accuracy, accountability and efficiency.
The committee will research the best system to fit the needs of Amherst, determine the total cost, and come up with wording to revise current bylaws governing Town Meeting to allow for electronic voting.
And they will draft a warrant article for the 2015 Fall Special Town Meeting to purchase the gadgets, which, if approved, would then go into full use at the 2016 Spring Annual Town Meeting.
As a sales pitch the committee will also put on a demonstration for the Fall Town Meeting showing how the system works prior to their vote (taken in the old fashioned manner -- either voice vote, standing vote, or tally vote).
Standing vote 5/7/14 Town Meeting
The Select Board unanimously supported the idea to form the committee.
Now if we could just downsize Town Meeting by w-a-y more than half, to say 60, we could save money on the new system, increase accountability even more, and actually make members compete for their seats.