Selectboard logo, May 20, 2019

The Select Board plans to decide on Arlington’s voting locations at its next meeting, Monday, Feb. 7. Town Clerk Juli Brazile will then send information to all voters.

At its Jan. 24 meeting, the board unanimously agreed to accept an updated report presented by Brazile. To view this report, click here >> 

Brazile told the board that, the town's Election Modernization Committee, of which she is a member, put questions on the 2020 town survey regarding polling locations, and based its recommendations on that data.

“We hope to improve voting access for residents who’ve expressed concerns about their ability to access their polling location,” she said.

Peirce, Bishop

“The largest number of complaints involve the crowding at the Peirce School and lack of parking, and that the Bishop School cafeteria is very small and two precincts are crowded into that space.”

She said the committee strongly supports using the Gibbs and high school as polling places this year, and school Superintendent Dr. Homan agrees. Both are on or near Mass. Ave., which makes them accessible in ways that the Peirce and Bishop Schools are not, she said.

The town election is April 2, a Saturday, which gives those involved a chance to test the locations without the complication of the building being in use by students and staff, explained Brazile.

“The committee also strongly believes that we should develop a parking plan for every location, and consider whether temporary signage and short-term parking at some locations would improve access for quick in-and-out voting,” said Brazile.

She encourage everyone — including school principals, because there might be lots of changes — to email thoughts on this to her, at jbrazile at “I’d love to be able to answer your questions individually, and to see all plans so that I can make most the coherent response,” added Brazile.

State home-rule legislation

The state home-rule legislation that changes Town Meeting elections was recently passed by the House and Senate and sent to Governor Baker. The voter registration database is still being updated, but Arlington’s work is almost done. 

“This means that I can prepare nomination papers for Town Meeting races,” said Brazile. Town Meeting papers became available to candidates Jan. 26.

Tuesday, Sept. 6, the day after Labor Day, has been proposed for the state primary.

Vote by mail and early voting are not currently allowed under the law. The Legislature is now debating changes to election law. Until they pass the new legislation, Arlington is not allowed to offer vote-by-mail or early in-person voting. 

Said Btazile: “The best I can do now is make some contingency plans, but until they pass the actual law, we won’t know the rules or requirements. We still offer absentee voting, but that’s not the same as ‘no-excuse voting,’ which is what’s been allowed for the past two years.”

Select board member John Hurd said, “Polling locations are near and dear to people’s hearts. Emotions run high with polling locations, which is something we need to take into consideration.” 

Watch the whole Jan. 24 meeting on ACMi:

2022 town election information

This news summary, by YourArlington freelance writer Susan Gilbert, was published Wednesday, Feb. 2, 2022.