Today, Hopkinton Town Clerk Connor Degan hosted a drop-in training session at the Hopkinton Senior Center for residents to learn more about the town’s electronic voting initiative. On October 23, Degan announced to the Select Board that his office had contracted with Meridia Interactive Services to supply electronic voting for the Special Town Meeting scheduled for November 13.
Meridia provides electronic voting for the US House of Representatives, New Hampshire House of Representatives and several towns in the Commonwealth that use it for their Town Meetings, including Grafton, Leicester, Sterling, and Stow.
Today’s attendees had questions about vote security and how the voting fobs work. Degan confirmed that all votes cast are anonymous and that the device that receives and records votes will only function on the premises of Hopkinton Middle School. It is not connected to the Internet, making it tamper-proof.
Degan cites two reasons for this initiative. The first is out of respect for people’s time. “One of the biggest complaints we hear is that Town Meeting is a time sink,” he said. “People don’t have the time to spend multiple nights debating an issue and then standing around for 20 minutes while we record the vote. Electronic voting eliminates the standing vote counts, so we can move quickly through the agenda.”
More importantly, electronic voting ensures secrecy. “Some people will not feel comfortable speaking in public about how they feel about certain issues, and we want to make sure they are heard. I don’t want someone’s fear of being judged to be what keeps them from voting their conscience on an issue,” said Degan.