The classic New England Town Hall Meeting vote involves a show of colored cards to indicate a vote for or against a given motion. It’s a reminder of our nation’s history, and in the best of times it can bring the community together – literally – to work on a common purpose.
When times are more contentious, though, Town Meeting can bring people together only to push them further apart.
Meridia Interactive has recently completed a case study of the Town of Uxbridge, Massachusetts, which, after 16 years of contentious Town Meetings over whether to build a new high school, replaced its tradition of colored cards with an electronic voting system that enabled residents to cast their votes immediately and anonymously. The benefits of doing so were numerous:
- Town Meetings no longer stretched out over several nights due to forced recounts
- Hundreds of votes could be captured and tallied in seconds – not hours
- The anonymity of the system ensured that no voter needed to be afraid to cast they vote they felt strongly about – even if it was unpopular
- The community had faith in the accuracy of the outcome, and accepted the outcome without the partisan rancor that votes had engendered in the past.
Read the full Case Study (and watch the electronic voting system in the included video) on how Uxbridge brought a town hall meeting vote to the 21st century.