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Committee Delves into Increased Participation at Town Meetings

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Westford’s Access to Town Meeting Committee met virtually Monday night to discuss means and incentives to draw residents to annual town meetings. Topics included everything from how to reach and accommodate the homebound to the use of electronic devices.

The committee is still in research mode as it looks into laws and voter regulations regarding remote access to balloting on important town issues. A small sub-committee workgroup’s “purpose is to research various methods of electronic access to town meeting for remote participation of Westford residents,” said Thomas Barry.

The committee’s goal is in line with a plan set out by state policymakers who ideate a more inclusive population of attendees to vote on items such as town warrants and other local policies.

Another ancillary discussion during Monday’s committee meeting was the furtherance of research into the use of “clicker voting.” Using data from surrounding towns that have already implemented the devices, the committee is considering whether to bring the issue up for vote. “It’s still very early and this is a long process,” said Barry with regards to gathering facts on the feasibility of introducing the idea.

Broader participation is the overarching mission of the committee, to get residents to attend and become engaged with local politics and policies.

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