Heading in that direction
I certainly agree with Mr. Pappas’ column about town meetings that was in the paper several weeks ago. In communities like Northfield (and also Essex, judging from the comments of another letter writer), the town meeting simply serves the function of disenfranchising a large percentage of the electorate. In Northfield, for example, I’m allowed to vote by ballot on the school budget, but unless I attend an arbitrarily scheduled meeting at 10 a.m. on a Tuesday morning, I’m not allowed to vote on the town budget.
Now please understand, I’m perfectly capable of reading the town report and deciding how I want to vote without going to a meeting to argue with anyone. And Northfield officials are glad to have my money, but they apparently don’t want it to be easy for me to vote on the matter. I really believe the purpose is to keep control of town affairs in the hands of a few.
And, by the way, where did the term “Australian ballot” ever come from? I have voted by secret ballot all my life and never heard that term until I moved to Vermont. I always thought voting by ballot was as much American in origin as coming from anywhere else. But it does seem like a foreign concept in parts of Vermont.
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