Secret ballot erases reprisals

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The Sun Journal’s view that Rumford should sustain the tradition of town meetings was well written but dreamy and idealistic (April 25). In fact, it was so idealistic that anyone who challenges it might be viewed as speaking against motherhood and apple pie. Indeed, the editorial stirred one’s inner democratic soul; however, its author has missed the point of the secret ballot effort which is to increase participation, not in debate, but where it counts: at the ballot box. The cherished democratic “debate” would take place at informational meetings and the vote would take place on Election Day.

The author of the article has not stood where I have, as moderator of many Rumford town meetings. All too often, I observed the failure of many to participate or even to vote. Why? Because of the fear of reprisal.

I would like to think that the editor’s rally cry for participation at town meetings would, in fact, increase attendance but, regrettably, attendance at town meetings has been very low for years. On the other hand, voting at the ballot box has always been relatively high.

With the secret ballot, the common man or woman has a chance to stand up and speak at informational meetings if they want to get involved with debate and then have the comfort of the secret ballot to vote their conscience. That feels more like democracy than a poorly attended town meeting.

Tom Carey, Rumford

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