Clickers mean voting your conscience — with privacy

April 24, 2024

Article 29 advocates for the use of electronic voting, or “clickers,” at Town Meeting. Clickers were first used in Massachusetts in 2011 and are now in more than 80 towns including neighboring Carlisle, Sudbury, Weston, and Wayland. Town clerks and residents report great satisfaction with clickers and to my knowledge, no adopting town has reversed back.

The benefits of Town Meeting are clear. As mentioned in the 1996 Town Meeting Study Report, it is the purest form of democracy, because each citizen may legislate. Although Town Meeting has existed in Concord for well over 300 years, the development of Town Meeting has undergone marked changes to meet the needs and life patterns of today’s citizens.

The challenge with Town Meeting is attendance, sufficient so that town interests are represented. If meetings are run more efficiently, accurately, and privately, more citizens may attend.

Privacy in voting is a mainstay of U.S. governance. At Town Meeting, we hold dear the ability to influence others through speaking and deliberation, but with this privilege, voters are seen, livestreamed, recorded, and photographed for media and distribution. Clicker voting offers important personal privacy protection.

Town Meeting’s main purpose is to effect town by-laws, policy, and to appropriate funds, helping determine property tax rates. However, because the warrant structure has few filters, it also allows for the inclusion of social justice, special interest projects, non-priority items, and excessive spending requests to go to vote. Clickers allow citizens to vote with their conscience, avoiding embarrassment, shame, and backlash amongst neighbors, friends, co-workers, business owners, and school connections.

Elizabeth More

Blueberry Lane