Elections were on the city council’s agenda this week and councillor’s and Election Commissioner Paul Fahey addressed when, how and where residents vote.
The council set Tuesday, Sept. 19 as the date for the preliminary election. Fahey explained that dates for registration and other votes naturally fall into place once the preliminary date is approved.
Councillors also need to vote on whether to opt into early and mail in voting for municipal elections. Early and mail in voting is available for federal and state elections but the council must vote to extend that balloting to local elections. Fahey told councillors that the number of people casting mail in ballots has risen significantly over recent years and he recommended the council approve the change. He did tell the council they could hold off on voting since there was plenty of time before a vote.
Councillor-At-Large Dan Rizzo asked Fahey about creating a system that would notify residents who vote by mail that their ballots have been received and registered. Fahey said adding that task to the election department’s workload would be a challenge. He said residents can call the department to make sure their ballot was counted or they can track their ballots through a link on the MA Secretary of State’s website. Fahey said the link will also be posted on Revere’s website.
Several councillors raised other voting issues. Ward 1 Councillor Joanne McKenna said more signs and lighting were needed at Beachmont School. McKenna said voters have trouble finding their way into the gym where voting takes place, saying lighting was inadequate.
Ward 5 Councillor John Powers echoed the concerns about signs and lighting at polling locations. Fahey said he was aware of the problem and working on a solution.
The city has reduced the number of polling locations from 21 to 19. Councillors wanted to know if voting would return to the Jack Satter House on the Revere Beach Boulevard. Fahey said the election commission will vote to decide about voting at that location but he expected it would be approved.