OPINION: Encouraging People to Vote in a Snowstorm Is Dangerous
For the second time in as many years, a major snowstorm crippled the region on Town Meeting day as dozens of towns around New Hampshire held municipal elections.
After several communities postponed elections in 2017, towns were this year ordered by the state's top elections official to open polls regardless of the mounting snowfall.
Before the first snowflakes hit the ground, Secretary of State Bill Gardner told town officials Monday there would be no excuses this time around for postponing elections and said voters should be prepared to brave the weather to head to the polls.
By Tuesday morning, town administrators sent emails and press releases closing town halls and curtailing municipal operations because of the snow but were still forced to open polling locations.
With forecast blizzard conditions for Tuesday afternoon, moderators around the Seacoast reported seeing most people showing up in the morning or early afternoon before conditions deteriorated.
Still, voter turnout hovered in the 10 to 15 percent range.
Town Meeting is one of the most important elections voters should turn out for as it affects you the most directly. Municipal and school budgets are voted on, which could impact your property taxes, potentially increasing your monthly mortgage payment. Town leaders also are elected, and town spending on critical infrastructure and equipment is also voted on.
It may be time for the Secretary of State to reconsider his position if a storm is predicted next year during elections. Encouraging people to come out and vote regardless of the weather seems counter intuitive and dangerous when municipal governments are closed, schools are closed, and the Department of Transportation says it's best to stay off the roads.
Dave Andreesen hosts "The Noon News Hour" weekdays at noon on News Talk 98. 1 WTSN