Days after a town election that included some malfunctioning ballot-counting equipment, the Select Board voted to update its voting gear.

Selectboard logo, May 20, 2019

A new machine, an ImageCast precinct optical tabulator, will be used for the Nov. 3 national election and all subsequent town elections. The existing voting system will be discontinued after Sept 1.

The current Accu-Vote Optical Scanners need to be used one last time, for the Sept. 1 primary. State law requires a Select Board to affirmatively vote to authorize use of new voting equipment at least 120 days before it is first used. The Arlington board took this required vote at its Monday, June 15, meeting, not soon enough for the September primary..

At the June 6 election, the existing tabulator machines broke down in a several precincts, potentially causing unrecorded ballots. That led to petitions for a recount to examine the close Select Board race between Len Diggins and Michaiah Healy, who lost by only 79 votes. The equipment has been used since 1998.

Mass. Ave./Appleton panel modified

Mass. Ave. at Appleton, left turn restricted, Juine 16, 2020No left turn evenings at Mass. Ave. Appleton. /                                         Arlington police photoThe Design Review Committee, established June 8 to improve the Mass. Ave./Appleton Street intersection after a cyclist was killed in May and another seriously injured June 14, has been modified, as unanimously approved by the board.

“The committee now includes a representative from the Ottoson Middle School. The project will look at the Mass. Ave. corridor to make it as safe as possible,” said Town Manager Adam Chapdelaine, noting that “we must act quickly.”

These changes come after several residents’ wrote to town officials recently, recommending some short-term solutions, until the committee has time to prepare a new traffic study and design plan:

  • Sara-Mai Conway, cousin of Charles Proctor, a cyclist who died there May 5, suggests new roadway striping, parking restrictions and signs.
  • Kathy Zeiler recommends extending the bike lane currently ending at Dunkin', just west of Appleton Street, to Burton Street, and installing flex posts to force left-turning motorists to use a tighter radius and move more slowly through the intersection. 
  • Ann LeRoyer urges examining the entire Mass. Ave. corridor from Forest/Burton streets through the equally difficult Lowell Street intersection.

Board member Diane Mahon concurred with modifying the design-review scope to include Lowell Street at Mass. Ave. and Forest/Burton streets.

Motor vehicles can no longer make a left-hand turn to Appleton Street as they head west on Mass. Ave. between 5:30 and 8 nightly. Police took that step June 16 following a car-bicycle collision two days before and a cyclist who died after a collision there in May. Capt. Richard Flynn said the action is "until further notice."

The intersection is to undergo study, and a memorial is planned for .

The June 14 incident is under investigation, and details about it are not known yet, because a police report is not available. Read more background here >>

Board commemts

“I appreciate the modifications being proposed and hope these improvements can be made quickly,” said board member Steve DeCourcey.

However, new board member Diggins was concerned that widening the review’s scope might affect the timeline of a short-term remedy.

“I’ll make sure broadening the scope doesn’t slow down any short-term actions,” reassured Chapdelaine.

Board Chair John Hurd added, “These improvements need to be made. I don’t anticipate the review committee will present just once, and will likely present several recommendations.” 

New Registrar to be named

The town plans to appoint a new member to the Board of Registrars, as unanimously approved by the board. This new member must be a registered Republican.

 The registrars are responsible for maintaining accurate lists of registered voters in the town, conducting elections, accepting nomination papers and certifying initiative or referendum petitions. 

To address a vacancy, “the law requires registrants to maintain an even balance of members from each major political party, and it already has two registered Democrats,” explained Town Counsel Doug Heim.

The Select Board appoints registrars from lists of potential nominees provided by the town’s two main political parties. If no lists are provided within 45 days, the Select Board can then make this choice. 

Contractors/drainlayers approved

The board unanimously approved the following contractor/drainlayer licenses:

  • K. B. Aruda Construction Inc., Cambridge, MA
  • Milestone Excavating & Landscaping, LLC, Shirley, MA

This news summary, by YourArlington freelance writer Susan Gilbert, was published Wednesday, June 24, 2020.