HomeGovernmentElectronic vote tabulators approved for Town Meeting

Electronic vote tabulators approved for Town Meeting

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WESTFORD — In an effort to improve efficiency within Town Meeting, electronic vote tabulators were used to tally votes within the meeting. 

In a split vote, residents approved Article 1, which authorized the use of tabulators for the current Town Meeting.

Previously, the process for tracking hand-counted votes could take up to twenty minutes. With clickers, the same process takes seconds. Majority votes will still use physical cards. 

Also known as “clickers”, these devices counted votes for the first time at Westford’s Town Meeting. 

By shortening this process, officials hope the change will increase accessibility and turnout for future meetings, should they continue use. 

“We want to bring more people into [the voting] practice, and ensure that as many people partake in our democracy as possible,” said Town Moderator Angela Harkness.

Some voters expressed concerns over privacy, while others prefer hand-tallied votes.

“If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it,” said resident Alex Gonzalez.

According to Harkness, clickers operate on a closed system. This ensures a secure network that preserves voters’ privacy and anonymity. 

Sean McPeak, an employee for the company Meridia which provides the tabulators, affirmed the security of the clickers, noting that the technology finds use in both the United States House of Representatives and U.S. armed forces. 

“It is simply a closed loop […] that has its own level of encryption. It is very secure, and all the institutions that I have mentioned have certified the technology,” said McPeak.

Missed the Annual Town Meeting and are curious how the tabulators work? Watch WestfordCAT’s demonstration here. Click here to read the results of the 2022 Annual Town Meeting.

This article has been amended to add additional clarity for when clickers will be used in the future.

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