Vote yes for SB2

To the Editor:

This March on Election Day, registered voters can go to the polls, which are open for 12 hours, and cast their ballots for school board and town offices candidates.

Voters who are out of town, traveling on business, working, etc., may request an absentee ballot and still participate.

If, however, they wish to vote absentee on warrant articles at the co-op or Brookline school district annual meetings, they are barred from doing so, as there is no current provision in law extending voting rights to those unable to attend.

So while deciding candidates for public office is important enough for all-day ballot voting, deciding multimillion-dollar budgets and school policy matters are not. Keep in mind 80 percent of the cost of local government comes from the school districts.

If this state of affairs seems ridiculous to you, please know you are not alone. Changing the current system to include all-day secret ballot voting for the co-op was supported by a solid majority of voters last year. In fact, 59 percent plus of voters backed it, but the proposal known as Senate Bill 2 fell two votes short of passage (60 percent required).

Many have nonstandard work schedules, child care responsibilities, military obligations or are traveling. The "one size fits all" worn-out ritual of a four- to five-hour March evening meeting does not serve registered voters well. Attendance under the current system is poor. The current system needs an upgrade. It needs to be revitalized and open to broader participation.

On March 8, Election Day, please vote "YES" to change to official ballot voting (adopt RSA 40:13) for the Brookline and co-op school districts. By doing so, the current town meeting style system will be preserved; however, all registered voters will have final say on the articles by all-day secret ballot voting at the polls. And if away, they can apply for an absentee ballot.

Thomas Humphreys