Let moderators postpone Town Meeting
June 17. 2018 1:05AM
To the Editor: Regarding postponing town elections due to weather conditions, it just seems like such a simple solution for the Legislature to clarify that town moderators have the authority to postpone a town meeting and balloting due to hazardous weather conditions.
In 2017 and 2018, government officials urged people not to drive unless absolutely necessary, storm emergencies were declared, and there were many accidents and power outages.
In 2017, many moderators postponed their town elections and voting. For some reason, this stuck in the craw of the secretary of state and drew warnings of "at your own risk" from the governor. This led to the absurdity of insisting that voters risk their lives to vote.
There needs to be explicit authorization for moderators to postpone elections. The law could set some standards of public notice, notice to the secretary of state, and a standard future date. It could even require moderators to consult with other town officials and take account of any weather reports and warnings from transportation and public safety officials in making their decisions.
Local officials do not want to postpone meetings and elections. It's not convenient or easy to notify voters and to reschedule all the people who conduct them. But, a March day in Colebrook, Hanover, or Conway can be very different from Salem, Newfields or Durham. Let's give a little credit to the intelligence and wisdom of locally-elected town moderators to make the call depending on local conditions.
JOHN B. ANDREWS