Vote ‘yes’ on Warrant Article 29 

April 24, 2024

Article 29 asks Concord voters to approve the use of electronic, hand-held voting devices (“clickers”) as the primary method to vote at Concord Town Meetings beginning next year. Over 70 towns in Massachusetts with open town meetings use clickers, including our neighbors in Acton, Carlisle, Littleton, Maynard, Sudbury, Stow, Wayland, and Westford.

Feedback from towns that use clickers published by the Massachusetts Moderator’s Association and available on town websites is “uniformly positive,” citing speed, accuracy, and privacy as primary benefits.Importantly, there have been no complaints about security.

Attendance at Town Meetings has declined significantly over the last 20 years. Concord town data shows more than 93% (or 12,500+) of registered voters on average over the last 10 years have not attended Town Meetings. Hand-raising at Town Meeting is a key factor suppressing voting as well as attendance, and the use of clickers will help reverse that trend.

More specifically, voting at Town Meeting has become more contentious and polarizing, commonly pitting neighbors and friends against each other. Unlike elected, representative legislative bodies, our Town Meeting voters consist of individuals, friends and neighbors who live in our community. Many times, voters are afraid to ask questions, make a point or show opposition. Votes on controversial articles impact how neighbors and friends view each other. We believe “Stand Up and Be Counted” has never been a core principle of our Town Meeting, and today is outdated and contrary to harmonizing voters during and after Town Meeting. 

Further, clickers save money and respect voters’ time. The Town of Wayland, for example, reported that clickers saved an average of 3.36 hours per annual town meeting from 2012-2019. Clickers will shorten Concord Town Meetings, thereby reducing overtime costs of town employees, reducing costs to keep CCHS open, and, importantly, respecting voters’ time. Cost savings will far exceed the cost to purchase or lease clickers. 

If Article 29 passes, the town, with the help of the Moderator’s Town Meeting Study Committee, can thereafter evaluate and implement the best technology option for Concord to buy or lease.

Please vote “YES” on Article 29.

Mark Martines

Alford Circle

Co-sponsor, Article 29