2009-10-29 / Editorial

Vote for your candidates and update the town’s charter


Jamestowners will go to the polls on Tuesday to elect a new Town Council and choose three members for the School Committee. There is only one candidate for Town Moderator.

We applaud all the candidates, win or lose. As we have said before, it is the many volunteers and their dedication to public service that make our local government function so well. Running for public office is an admirable feat. Those who serve on the Town Council and the School Committee put in countless and thankless hours.

The Press does not endorse local candidates. We ask that you vote for those individuals who you think will do the best job for the community as a whole.

However, we have been asked our opinion on the Town Charter amendment questions. State law requires that every 10 years the town review and update its charter.

Question 1 asks if voters would like to make the Jamestown elections align with state and national elections, instead of being in off years like this current election. There are two arguments to support this amendment. It would save the town money and more people would vote. Typically, we have low voter turnout in the local elections and higher voter participation in the state and national elections.

However, to be fair, I’ve talked with several people who maintain that Jamestown is unique. Keeping our elections in the off-year cycle is part of that local charm. They ask if we want people who have really not paid attention to vote for local candidates.

I believe this is a good amendment for the town charter and support the measure. The more people who participate in our electoral process the better. In fact, I think we should make it easier for people to vote and welcome the day when you will be able to vote via the Internet.

The remainder of the town charter amendment questions are mostly housekeeping items, except for Question 12. I currently serve on the board of trustees for the Jamestown Philomenian Library. We noticed that unlike many communities in New England, our town charter does not specify that Jamestown should have a library that is free and open to all. So the trustees requested the clarification of “a free and public library for all inhabitants thereof.”

Please remember to vote on Tuesday, Nov. 3.

— Jeff McDonough

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