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Election Info Criticized

By Leondra R. Kruger

City Council candidate John R. Pitkin criticized the Cambridge Election Commission yesterday, calling its efforts to publicize changes in this year's voting locations "too little, too late."

The Commission sent postcards yesterday to all voting households informing them of this year's new polling locations. Three voting locations for the November 2 elections have been eliminated because of this year's reduction of voting precincts from 44 to 42.

Although the Commission will also post signs at the recently closed locations and will provide maps with directions to open polls, Pitkin said the Commission's performance has been "lackadaisical."

"[There are] still no signs, too little information and too little respect for the voters," said Pitkin in a press release yesterday.

He urged the Commission to provide staff at the closed polling centers to direct lost voters to open polls.

Sondra Schier, a member of the Board of Election Commissioners, said Pitkin's complaints are unreasonable.

"We don't expect any problems," said Schier. "[Pitkin] made grave errors in his statement."

Schier said the Commission's attempts to notify voters of current polling locations will actually increase voter awareness rather than deter voters from going to the polls.

The notification should prompt all--even those whose polling places have not changed--to vote in the election, Schier said.

"The voters will be better served than in prior years," she added.

The last time the Commission changed voting locations was in 1986, when the number of precincts decreased by 11. The Commission used similar measures to publicize the changes and encountered relatively few problems, Schier said.

The Election Commission has had its share of controversy over the past few months.

Its executive director, Teresa S. Neighbor, was removed by the commissioners amid questions about whether she adequately or accurately publicized the election. She was eventually reinstated by the city manager.

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