Support for traditional town meeting, By Rebecca Maxwell

I think voting should be done by open town meeting so that if there are questions people can ask them, and get their answers right then and there.

You can have all the public hearings that you want and you still don’t get out a great number of people. There will be handful of people. Public hearings to me have kind of gone by the wayside.

Going in behind that curtain to vote is not a good idea because people get in there and they don’t understand the question. They don’t understand what departments are under that amount of money. And there is no one to answer their question.

I still think it was a bad idea to do away with open town meeting. I can remember going to town meeting years ago when I was younger and there would be a lot of arguing but it was so much fun. It got it out there. It told people what each department was and how much they needed, and how many people they employed under that department. That debate is gone now.

The discussion is heated but you can explain things to people. And then people are more satisfied.

You don’t have all the blanks on ballots with open town meeting.

There is no reason why anyone who wants to can’t vote. There are people that would be more than glad to bring people to town meeting [such as the offer by the Waldoboro Fire Department].

I think we should go back to open town meeting. There’s no doubt about it. And I’ll probably feel that way till the day I die.


Referendum voting, the most effective method today, By Ronald Miller

In today’s world, citizens don’t have many rights left; voting is one of the few that we have left.

When you have referendum voting in a town like Waldoboro it gives every voter that wants to vote several ways to do so. This is true democracy.

When you have an open town meeting you only have one way of voting (usually by a show of hands); this is in no way of any type of democracy.

Referendum voting allows you to vote by secret ballot or by absentee ballot. It allows you to vote or ask questions ahead of time. Referendum voting takes away the intimation factor, which is one of the biggest reasons people won’t attend an open town meeting. Other reasons people don’t go to open town meetings are bad health, having to work, can’t sit that long, old age or just plain don’t care to attend; but they still want to vote.

Open town meeting only allows you to vote at that meeting, usually by a show of hands.

Since 2008 when the people’s choice was referendum voting by a vote of:

(2008) 4034 registered voters, 2636 voted = 66%

1919 for referendum voting = 73%

717 against = 2.7%

Prior to 2008 when we had open town meeting only 100 or less people showed up.

Since we have been voting by referendum in June the average referendum vote has been 1,000 or more; this year 1,086 voted.

Referendum voting gives you a much broader representation of the whole town’s opinion.

Everyone in the town of Waldoboro deserves the right to vote on how their money is spent.

Some will say referendum voting only tells an up-or-down vote and you don’t really know why the article failed. Since 2008 we have been voting referendum style and then an open town meeting has been called. If you haven’t learned why the warrants have failed by now, you never will. Some also have said that people don’t know what they are voting for and they aren’t well informed. I disagree with that. Others say they would rather have 100 or less well-educated people making the decisions instead of more less-educated ones. I feel that everyone in Waldoboro is equally educated in their own way.

Open town meetings only have a few of the same people that voted down any warrants show up, where on the other hand all the special interest groups do go to the open meeting and vote for the failed warrants.

Referendum voting gives you everything that open town meeting does except the voting method.

You can attend budget meetings. There you have the right to discuss articles and recommend amendments to the selectmen. You have public hearing where you can ask questions and debate all warrants. You can attend selectmen meetings and ask questions. You may not get your answers at these meetings but you will be told how you can. Then you vote referendum style.

Well in the past several years we have been given the right to vote referendum style; but when articles have failed they don’t get reduced or re-voted on by referendum. An open town meeting is called for. I feel that this has been done because in the past the majority of the select board has been bias and only believe in an open town meeting.

Don’t get me wrong; without a charter it seems that the board has the right to choose the voting method that they want regardless of what the people’s choice is. Hopefully that will change in the future and the people’s choice will be implemented.

As you already know I was a big part of bringing referendum voting to Waldoboro and will continue to support it to the bitter end.

Open town meeting doesn’t work in a town the size of Waldoboro; it only creates frustration and hostility and doesn’t solve anything. A lot of people have said to me that they will never attend another open town meeting and will never vote again.

I won’t say that we shouldn’t ever have an open town meeting. Throughout the year on occasion a minor issue may come up that doesn’t need a referendum vote; this could be expectable.

Over a dozen towns in Maine have changed to referendum voting and more are considering the same in the near future.

All other towns that have gone to referendum voting have worked through any and all problems and don’t resort to an open town meeting to resolve failed warrants.

Open town meetings still work well in small towns, with 1,000 residents or less.

In towns like Waldoboro having around 5,000 residents the only way to get a fair and widespread representation of the town’s opinion is to vote referendum style.

If referendum voting had been properly implemented we wouldn’t be in the middle of a lawsuit. I commend the people that have stepped up to the plate to defend their right to vote in a matter of the people’s choice.

The above is my opinion and facts as I know them, but when 73 percent of the voting public votes for referendum style, then that should be the way we vote in the future on any and all town warrants articles.