On March 1, 2017

Vote to keep the Australian ballot

Dear Editor,

In 2011, Killington made a historic decision. Citizens agreed that all who are registered to vote in Killington should be allowed to cast a ballot to decide town issues. The ballot is technically called an “Australian ballot.” Most people just call this voting.

Killington Town Meeting Article 7 would restrict voting on town meeting articles. Voters would not be allowed to vote on Town Meeting articles by ballot, whether on election day or by absentee ballot. Voters would need to be present on the floor of the town meeting at the time a vote was called on a specific article. If you were not at the meeting when an article was called, for any reason, you would not be allowed to vote.

In 2011 we went through the information wars about “educated voters.” We went through the discussion about people only voting if they had showed enough interest in an issue “to show up.” We talked about “tradition.” All of that discussion concerning the way Killington votes is as valid today as it was in 2011.

Voters today are more educated about local issues. More people show up to vote by Australian ballot than ever before, as documented by town voting records. Small groups of people cannot filibuster an issue at an open town meeting until the vote count in the hall suits their purpose. Issue stakeholders must educate the electorate before the election to convince people of the merits of their point of view so voters will freely side with them in the privacy of the ballot box.

Traditions are important. The concept of coming together to discuss the issues of the day certainly has merit. This is specifically the reason for open Select Board meetings and the town information meeting prior to Election Day. However, we should not confuse discussing the issues of the day with the process of voting.

Disenfranchising voters because their circumstances prevent them from attending a single meeting is wrong.

Vote “no” on Article 7 when you cast your Australian ballot on town meeting day Tuesday, March 7. If you cannot cast your vote on Town Meeting Day, request an absentee ballot from the town hall. Either way, keep Killington voting open and accessible to all by voting “no” on Killington Town Meeting Article 7.

Bill Vines, Killington

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