Thursday, March 15, 2012

What's the solution?

Historically Franklin's voter turn out is about 20% (of the registered voters) for a local election, about 40% for an override or debt exclusion (to raise taxes) and 80+ % for a state or national election.

These results are not what they really should be. The local election, for our town council, school committee and other elected positions occurs every two years. Some of the elected positions are every four years (Town Clerk, Treasurer/Collector). These local elections are the most important under our city form of government. Yes, even though was are "the Town of Franklin" we operate with a city form of government. We have a council where members are elected to represent the residents at large. They have final say on all budget and business matters. The School Committee governs the school budget. The Town Council can only approve at the bottom line dollar level, they can't get into the individual details, contracts, etc. of the school budget.

So these groups get elected with only a 20% turnout!

The state and national elections get a 80+ turnout and yet they have very little direct effect on the local issues. Yes, the sate aid does account for about 30% of Franklin's budget but otherwise, they have nothing to do on a day-to-day basis.

Even when it comes to raising taxes, only about 40% of the Franklin voters turn out. This vote has a direct effect on each taxpayer. Does it mean the vote doesn't matter? Does it mean that the dollars don't matter?

Franklin, MA: No


Franklin, MA: Yes

Trying to get the word out to keep the voters and taxpayers informed has been my mission for the past four plus years. If you have any suggestions or recommendations, please send them along. I am ready to listen.