For John, BLUF: these meetings haven't been too frequent.
I am trying to liver blog the meeting of the Election Commission, so I must be late. They just elected Thel Sar as the Chairman as I walked in.
I thought the meeting started at 4:45. I think they were aggressive in action.
Tom O'Brien says he had booked the room for the fourth Thursday of each month.
Mark Brierre, Commissioner
Thel Sar, Chairman
Tom O'Brien, Commissioner
Pat McCartin, Commissioner
Christine O'Connor, Solicitor
Also present was City Councillor Vesna E. Nuon.
Mark asks if there is a rule or regulation that mandates meetings. Ms O'Connor says no.
Mid-June special election, and a primary seven weeks before.
Tom O'Brien discussed an EMail from Gerry Nutter re GLTHS elections. Ms O'Connor says she will get back with an answer.
Chairman Sar says he would like each Commissioner to know how to test the ballot boxes. Mark says that only one person knew how to do that in the past—one would assume Denis Teague, who has moved to Vermont.
Pat talks to the interaction with LHS and the importance of that.
Tom talks to the importance of boundaries in the process. A question of available people to move equipment and boxes. Ms O'Connor says that for the last election Ralph Snow made the manpower available. It was agreed that it worked well. Mark says that with a professional office manager the logistics should not be a problem. His question was what the Commissioners should be poking into. At one time the Commissioners were near full time, but then a staff was put into place and the pay reduced.
Ms O'Conner announces that Ms Gail Cenik has resigned, as of today. Ms O'Connor will look into the responsibilities of the Staff and the Commissioners, for the next meeting.
Pat McCartin says he has reached out to the State and has collected some information on duties, which he will distribute electronically to all. One of the issues raised to Pat At Demoulas is Poll Workers not being able to vote absentee. He said he has been told the General Court is looking to open up absentee ballots.
Ms O'Connor notes that when communications come from the State they should be shared with the Commissioners and perhaps the Law Office and Manager. I note that the City Web Site for the Election Commission is out of date. And, it doesn't include the names of the Commissioners, and contact information, like City EMails.
Ms O'Connor reviews a PowerPoint on Lessons Learned from th,e last election. A key item is poll worker training. Perhaps expand the training to the Lowell Police Department. Polling locations were a topic. There were some challenges at one or more polling locations. Some of those locations, like the Masonic Temple, may not be properly sized for the changing demographics. Another issue was T-shirts for different types of workers (shades of the Flight Deck). Also, a question of scheduling teacher training days with elections.
In the past some issues that should have been of interest to the Commissioners were not past to them, for example nursing homes as special polling places. It is the Commissioners who must designate which nursing homes will be authorized polling places.
Apparently we have not, for a long time, posted Warrents for Elections. This is a requirement in law. It was suggested we seek out professional assistance, providing cross-feed on our operation. [As an aside, there is a City Clerks professional organization.]
Some discussion of poll workers and bringing in workers drawn from other offices. Outside help has included UMass Lowell and the Community College, as well as UTEC. UTEC also helped with voter registration. Our phone bank was 12 computers and phones. Before the last election not all Commissioners had all the various important phone numbers. Considering more use of social media.
Etta notes that she has gotten feedback on the Web Page and the need to update it. Pat agrees that if it could direct folks to polling places based on address it would be great. We need remote access to the database, from polling places. Etta will check with RMV on how that information flows. Joe says that over the years down in Cambridge half the problems were from RMV Registration. The question of Active Duty military voters. It was agreed to touch base with Eric Lamarche. Mark talked about the Census and people being delisted (inactive status). Mark asked if people didn't have to be notified of their change of status? The answer is yes, people need to be notified.
Supplies were an acknowledged problem, and the turn out was bigger than expected. There is a need for established SOPs and pass along books.
Quick review of the Open Meeting Law.
Review from the office, including a desire for an office physical reorganization, especially so customers are seen as the enter.
Adjourn at 6:22 PM.
Regards — Cliff