Cambridge council firms up mail-in voting for city election
CAMBRIDGE — The Cambridge City Council passed an emergency charter resolution during their teleconferenced meeting on Monday, July 13, that allows the city government to hold an all mail-in vote during balloting for city offices later this fall.
The emergency charter resolution, which clarifies the authority of the city manager as election supervisor to use mail-in ballots for the Oct. 17 election, passed 3-2, with Commissioners Donald Sydnor and LaShon Foster voting against.
According to City Attorney Chip MacLeod, a simple majority only vote was required to pass the measure because of an executive order from Gov. Hogan intended to allow municipalities to modify the way elections are conducted during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic response. MacLeod said that as part of that executive order, that the resolution had been reviewed by the governor’s legal office.
Foster said she disagreed with the mail-in method of voting because of the potential for ballots not being counted, and she said the process should conform to state election law.
Two members of the public spoke against the resolution, and one spoke in favor.
Mayor Victoria JacksonStanley explained the history of the change. The change of the timing of the city election was initiated by the prior council in 2016 in order to hold the voting on the same day as the presidential general election, said Jackson-Stanley.
She said the Dorchester County Board of Elections said the election could not be held at the same time as the general election more than a year ago, and the city council has since opted to use a private vendor, use the City Manager as the Election Supervisor, and hold the election on the third Saturday in October.