Election Board Asks for More City Funding
The Cambridge City Council last night delayed action on a request by the Election Commission for a $40,000 budget increase designed to eliminate errors in the preparation of this year's voting list.
Approximately 5,000 eligible voters were inadvertently dropped from the voting rolls for the September primary because budget cuts prevented commissioners from conducting a door-to-door survey of city residences, forcing them to rely solely on mailing.
Despite these complications, no previously registered Cambridge citizen was prevented from participating in the primary. The commission set up a special registration procedure allowing those dropped from the rolls to vote.
But commissioners warned last night that such allowances may not be possible in the future.
"Without the funds to do the annual census properly, there is no way that we as commissioners can guarantee the accuracy of the voting lists," said commissioner Sandy Scheir.
Scheir explained that the largest part of the fund increase would go to hiring the manpower to do the door-to-door surveying.
Several city councilors attending the hearing said that although they agreed with the goals of the request, they thought that it was a bit excessive. The council referred the matter to the city manager with instructions that he explore cheaper sources of manpower to conduct the survey, including the possibility of soliciting volunteers.