City of Lowell Law Dept/ Election Division – Election Commissioners – School Administration Former Deputy Supt. Lang – Lowell School Committee – Deb Forgione – Ray Boutin
Depending on who you talk to, All have supposedly had a hand in, supported or are being blamed for the polling shuffle residents of Ward Six have experienced over the past few years and continue to experience.
The City of Lowell Law Dept/ Election Division moved precincts out of the Elks Club because the State said you can’t use a place that serves alcohol. They move out of the Wang School to the Pawtucketville Memorial supposedly because Deb Forgione and the PCC complained.
They moved out of the Pawtucket Memorial because Jay Lang and the School Administration supposedly with support of the School Committee want voters out of all “their buildings” because of the supposed Stranger Danger! So go ahead at start with Pawtucketville. They reportedly had support from PYO President / GLRTHS School Committeeman Ray Boutin who agrees that taxpayers who help fund the schools shouldn’t be able to use them to vote and the city has to start somewhere so why not in Pawtucketville?
They moved the polling location to Bryer Gardens at the D’Youville complex but again Deb Forgione and the PCC allegedly complained.
Supposedly the Election Dept. looked at using Saint Rita’s Church Hall but in June had the Sec. of States Office out to look at the site but they didn’t like that location.
The PCC were under the belief that the Election Dept. was going to meet with the neighborhood group before finalizing a new polling place but never did. They did not find out until Aug 31st where the new polling location will be.
The Law Dept. / Election Division and apparently the Election Commission along with the Managers Office mus think that having EVERY VOTER who lives anywhere on the left side of Mammoth Road vote on the right side of Mammoth road is no big deal.
They must thing voters will have no issue going to Mount Hope St and the Fusion Theater which is 2.29 miles away from Bryer Gardens where people voted last time. To put this in perspective if they moved the Reilly School location to the Immaculate Conception School hall it would be a 1.52 mile move. If they moved it out of the Ward to St. Michael’s School on Sixth St it would be 2.1 miles. (per Mapquest)
How many people even know where or what the Fusion Theater is and exactly where on Mount Hope street is it. I drove over, there is no signage up. (former Jeanne D’arc Church).
The cynic in me might wonder if this was done to suppress the Pawtucketville vote for Joe Mendonca while leaving the Belvidere voting locations intact for Ed Kennedy, Bill Samaras and others? Thankfully I’m not yet that cynical.
I do think the former school administration didn’t like the voting In the schools. I’d tell them along with the existing and future administrations, tough, the city owns these buildings and the taxpayers pay for them and have a long history of using the schools to vote. It may cause some issues but tough, deal with it.
I also think that Deb Forgione and the PCC wear down city departments and personal with constant complaints and very little positive suggestions or contributions to the city. Some groups just want to complain complain complain. Fairly or not Deb Forgione and has a result the PCC have gotten that reputation. Just look at how Pawtucketville split into separate neighborhood groups.
By moving all of Ward Six to one location the Election Division probably thought it would stop the complaints and that it would somehow be considered “Centrally Located”. I’m told postcards will go out to every resident whose location is changing to notify them two weeks before the Preliminary.
Well the Election Depr. have at least one person and signage up at the Bryer Gardens to let voters know they have been bounced around again?
Will the City provide us with voting records to show the impact on turnout in the last two municipality elections to show if moving the locations has effected turnout?
I’m pretty sure it is to late to change the location this year but hopefully the City Law / Election Dept will in the future hold neighborhood meetings at least on a couple of occasions and publicize the fact that they are again considering moving locations and listening to the concern of voters.
With the recent talk of neighborhood schools, I’d propose we stick with Neighborhood polling locations and continue to use public Schools instead of paying private locations to hold public elections!