Low voter turnout, especially in municipal elections, isn’t unique to Chelsea, but District 6 Councillor Giovanni Recupero is among the councillors urging his colleagues to look at ways to increase voter turnout in the city.
Recupero is asking the City Manager and City Clerk to look into adding more voting locations in the city.
“You want our city to be more fair and open and get more people to go out and vote, make the places to vote closer to where the districts are,” said Recupero. “Don’t make them all in one place, put them the way they used to be.”
Currently, there are three polling locations in Chelsea for the city’s eight districts. They are at the public safety building at Sagamore Avenue and Cheever Street for District 1; the Williams School auditorium for Districts 2, 4, 5, 6, and 8; and the St. Rose School for Districts 3 and 7.
“The (polling locations) used to be in the districts and there used to be more places where you could go and vote,” said Recupero. “If you go back to the way it used to be, you’ll have a bigger turnout.”
Recupero said it makes sense that more people would be likely to vote if the polling locations were closer to where they lived.
“Instead of making it one centralized area, make it in different sections like it used to be 30 years ago and maybe people will go out and vote more, because our city needs people to vote more.”
In addition to requesting more polling locations, Recupero said the city needs to add porta-potties at the current voting locations.
“When I was outside this year where the people vote, people could not go to the bathroom,” he said. “They had to go to Dunkin Donuts, they had to go all over the place. If that’s the case, why not put the porta-potties where people can go to the bathroom if they are not going to allow them to go inside. It’s a good thing to have these portable (toilets) there for that specific time when people are there so the people won’t be inconvenienced.”