Select Board Holds Special Meeting to Extend Poll Hours
An emergency session of the Holliston Select Board was held this afternoon for the purpose of discussing whether the presently posted polling hours for Election Day, June 23, of 12:00PM – 4:00 PM, fall within the guidelines of the town’s bylaws. Following discussion among the Board, its Counsel Kate Feodoroff, Chief Michael Cassidy, and Town Clerk Elizabeth Greendale, the Select Board voted to extend hours to 7 AM to 8 PM on Tuesday, June 23.
Feodoroff noted that the related Holliston bylaw (revised in 2019) reads as follows:
Article II Town Elections, Section 2 Date and Time
“The election shall be held, pursuant to a warrant, on the Tuesday following the third Friday in May, at which time the polls will open at 7:00 AM and remain open continuously until 8:00PM.”
Massachusetts COVID19 emergency orders enabled a change to the date but did not mention changes to times of the town’s elections. But, as Feodoroff noted, Holliston’s bylaws are very specific. Judicial intervention would be needed in order to change the time of the election. With the date of Holliston’s election looming, the indeterminate time needed to obtain a court order, and the possibility that the court could rule against revising the time frame, the discussion was brisk and purposeful.
More poll workers will be needed for the lengthened day. Town Clerk Greendale said that she had a hard time staffing the reduced hours, so anticipated some difficulty staffing the expanded time frame. Additionally, more precautions will have to be taken during changing shifts of workers. The Board considered postponing Election Day (with the added time to gain needed Court approval), but Holliston Emergency Management Director, Fire Chief Cassidy said that the COVID19 risk would still remain high.
Greendale reported 80% of the average number of voters who vote in our local elections have already requested ballots, so those attending the polls in person may be fewer. Additionally, it may be possible to reassign town workers as poll workers for some part of the day as long as they are not in the risk category and not over their designated hours.
In the end, the Select Board voted unanimously to extend poll hours so as to uphold the town’s bylaws, but emphasized to those choosing not to vote by mail:
- Be mindful of poll workers;
- Respect social distancing practices; and
- Wear a facemask.
Most importantly, VOTE!
Read the related press release here: https://www.townofholliston.us/sites/g/files/vyhlif706/f/uploads/press_release_election_time.pdf