To the Editor:
President Kennedy's "Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country..." was a motivator for my running for political office in 2011. Based on current events in Newington politics, it appears Mayor DelBuono is asking "what can Newington do for Republicans?"
The latest example of this is the voting travesty currently being discussed for the town: cutting polling spaces from 8 to 3, to save a measly $38,000 out of an estimated $123 million budget. This attack on voting rights is a microcosm of what's being seen across the country today, as Republicans in many states are moving to restrict access to polling places. In Texas, where reduction of polling places and redistricting are cutting the ability of people to cast ballots, hundreds of requests for absentee ballots are now being denied.
My wife and I have been volunteering at Thanksgiving and Christmas for the Human Services Department to bring food and gifts to people who cannot travel, and know that these are seniors, disabled and the poor citizens of town. All of whom pay taxes. All of whom deserve to have a say in their town government.
The proposed change from 8 polling places to 3 would mean an estimated change in numbers of voters at each polling place from 2,300 voters to 7,000 voters. Even if our elderly and disabled can make it to a polling place, will they be able to stand in line for extended periods? Will congestion in polling places increase the transmission of covid and flu for all voters? Will single parents working two jobs be able to afford the extra time consumed in trying to vote? Will the town political committees have sufficient volunteers to drive people without transportation to and from polling places? Will our registrars follow the Texas lead and deny requests for absentee ballots? Will confusion over getting to the correct polling station depress voter turn-out? We all know the answers to these questions.
The purported savings of $38,000, when weighed against the access for all to vote, is a truly flimsy argument - it's just an excuse, and not at all a good reason to pursue a plan which would suppress voter turn-out. Find some other place to find these meager savings!
Our democracy is only vibrant when all are allowed a voice in government. If you love your town and our democracy, please contact your town councilors at https://www.newingtonct.gov/2291/Meet-Your-Council and let them know that this attack on voting rights should NOT happen in Newington.