Bourne Officials Consider Electronic Voting at Town Meetings

Bourne Town Hall

BOURNE – Officials in Bourne are looking into ways to implement electronic voting for residents at town meetings, and are looking to do so as early as the coming spring.

Bourne voters at past town meetings have traditionally submitted votes through secret ballots, requiring voters to submit paper votes into the ballot box.

Town Clerk Barry Johnson has suggested handheld electronic devices with buttons corresponding to either a ‘yes’ or ‘no’ vote.

“Basically, there are two companies that are out there now that are available for recommendation and use. One of them is called Turning Technologies and the other is called Option Technologies,” Johnson said.

“That’s who the Town of Falmouth uses, and Eastham uses them as well.”

The devices will allow for votes to be collected and counted electronically, saving time from having to physically count each ballot out.

Johnson says the devices would shave off an hour to an hour and a half of the time it’s taken to manually count the votes. The devices also allow for secrecy in voting, ensuring voter privacy.

Town Administrator Tom Guerino took interest in the idea, but also noted that the switch would result in a big change for the town and would come with a lot of questions

Guerino said the town will have to take a deeper look into potentially leasing the devices, as well as how many would be needed.

“Generally, leasing might be a better option, those are the things we’ll have to look at,” Gueirno said.

“When we sit down at the pre-town meeting and Nancy Sundmann is putting together the book, we’ll check with the moderator and ask, ‘how many do you think we need?’ And the moderator will say, ‘x,’ And we’ll generally do ‘x’ plus 50. That’s maybe a way to judge what you need.”

By TIM DUNN, News Center

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