Mashpee Officials Mull New Polling Location

MASHPEE – A special election for an open seat on the Mashpee Board of Selectmen will be held October first but a polling location remains up in the air.

Selectman John Cotton said he would like to see the voting location moved from the Christ the King Church Parish Hall.

Cotton does not believe the church provides candidates the opportunity to meet the voters on Election Day.

“Especially the new non-incumbents,” Cotton said. “It gives them the opportunity to meet the voters when most of them don’t go to those events and rallies [for candidates.]”

Cotton said he hoped to engage Town Manager Rodney Collins to find another location.

“My preference would be to go back to where it was at Quashnet Elementary School,” Cotton said.

Town Clerk Deborah Dami said there are a number of factors that need to be discussed when it comes to moving the polling location.

“First and foremost is the safety and security of the children,” Dami said. “This is why we are not at the school at this time.”

Dami also said presidential elections must be considered when thinking about polling locations.

“The church has the largest capacity for parking,” she said.

Dami did not agree with Cotton’s view that the church location is a disadvantage for new candidates.

“The election that we had in May, we had two non-incumbents get elected to the planning board,” she said. “That’s a tough fighter right there to say they can’t get in by not meeting the voters out there.”

Dami said she also received complaints from voters about being converged on by the candidates when the voting was held at the school.

“I’ve never seen anyone getting harassed,” Cotton said.

Dami said the elderly and physically handicapped had issues getting up the long walkway at Quashnet. Cotton said he had never heard that complaint.

“I’m the one who has been running the elections and I can tell you that there have been concerns voice to me,” Dami said.

Cotton said there was a golf cart there to help transport individuals. Dami said they can’t always guarantee there will be a cart.

Dami said the only other place she feels is viable is the Council on Aging, but that it might not be sufficient for a presidential election.

Town Manager Rodney Collins said he would consult with school officials to find out if they have concerns. Alternatives would then be discussed at the next Selectmen’s meeting.

The election will fill the seat of John Cahalane who died in June. He served on the board for two decades.

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