This whole issue with WARD SIX seems to be a case of some miss understanding or communication between the City – the PCC Chair and the other PCC members.
My understanding is the City has tried to work with the PCC and tried to make any moving a mutual agreed upon event. Somehow things have gotten mixed up and a July 24th memo from the Election Office to ALL the Neighborhood Groups including the PCC was missed by the PCC or ignored.
Could the City have communicated better? Probably! Could they have held neighborhood meetings in a couple locations and sent out this announcement to the media (and your favorite blogger!) YES but they did not for whatever reason.
I’ll give the PCC leader a pass about not sharing this with more people in her organization because I know she had a lot going on in the end of July and August and maybe missed it but don’t other PCC people check the PCC email?
I’ll give the PCC leader the benefit of the doubt that she just didn’t agree with it and waited until after her event in August was done to deal with it and pressure the city for a last minute change…but in my view that may have been what happened. She has a reputation of wanting what she wants and complaining loud and often until she gets it.
To my knowledge no one contacted the Election Office or Manager’s Office in July with any concern about the move and it wasn’t until the past few days this issue blew up.
I just found out on Social media about this over the weekend and if the media had been notified in July, maybe Teddy on WCAP or myself would have asked someone at City Hall if this was well planned out because I saw issues the minute I heard about it.
This appears to be a rare case of poor communication by this Administration but some of the blame should also be on the PCC for not reading or sharing this July email and expressing concern at that time. Heck any of the Neighborhood groups could have asked about this in July.
Here is the July email: I’ve redacted the home email addresses of the Election Commissioners that were cc’d
From: Matchak, Eda Jane
Sent: Friday, July 24, 2015 11:15 AM
To: Acre Coalition to Improve Our Neighborhood; Back Central Neighborhood Association; Belvidere Neighborhood Council ; Centralville Neighborhood Action (firstname.lastname@example.org); Highlands Neighborhood Association ; Lowell Downtown Neighborhood Association ; Lower Highlands Neighborhood Group (email@example.com); Lower Highlands Neighborhood Group Co-Chair; Pawtucketville Citizens Council ; Riverside Community Council ; Sacred Heart Neighborhood Improvement Group
Subject: polling location changes
Dear community partners,
The Election Commission has voted to move ward 5 precinct 1 and ward 6 precincts 1, 2 and 3 to the Fusion Theater (the old Ste. Jeanne d’Arc Church) located at 125 Mount Hope Street pursuant to MGL ch.54 §24. On election day voters will have access to three parking lots and amble on street parking. Mount Hope Street is in the residential parking zone, the Parking Department has been contacted and a request made that enforcement around the polling location be suspended on Election Day to accommodate voters. The Fusion Theater has donated the use of the space on election day and will provide cost savings for hall rental as well as police staffing and DPW set up and breakdown.
Additionally, the Election Commission voted to relocate ward 5 precinct 3 to the St. Louis Hall on West Sixth Street and to relocate ward 10 precinct 3 to the Rogers Gymnasium on Highland Street. These changes help the Election Commission achieve their goal of creating community voting centers that are compliant with accessibility standards and convenient for voters.
To accommodate voters that reside at D’Youville, the former polling location for ward 6 precincts 2 & 3, the Election Commission has voted to designate D’Youville a designated health care facility pursuant to MGL ch.54 §91 B (b) and will be coordinating a voting day at D’Youville for residents that require absentee voting services.
Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions regarding the above changes.
Eda Matchak | Director of Elections/ Municipal Hearing Officer
City of Lowell
City Hall, 375 Merrimack Street, Room 5 | Lowell, MA 01852-5909
Tel: 978.674.1196 | Fax: 978.970.4089 | http://www.lowellma.gov