Letter to the Editor: Mattapoisett election misinformation troubling

Jun 18, 2020

To the Editor: 

I have recently become a resident of Mattapoisett from a neighboring town, and I found it highly troubling that there was misinformation regarding the date of the 2020 Mattapoisett Town Election on the website managed by the town of Mattapoisett, up to and including the actual date of the election. As of the day of the election  (June 16), there were multiple documents (including one titled "Important Annual Town Election Information" and one titled "2020_annual_town_election_sample_ballot") on Mattapoisett's town website that still had an election date of May 19 listed.    
Additionally, I also find it disconcerting that the voting hours were reduced from the town election standard time block of 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. to a 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. time block, which could very well impede anyone that works an atypical work shift or commutes a good distance to work from voting. While these people could have obtained an absentee ballot, this would have required being able to clearly determine the date of the election well in advance, which would have been difficult due to the incorrect voting information on the town website.  
Both of these issues are particularly alarming at a time in history when voting is seemingly more critical than ever.  The COVID-19 pandemic has caused a great deal of issues for many communities, but voting should be of the utmost priority for any municipality — this is something that we as a nation cannot get wrong. While state laws do not necessarily require having voting information on town-managed websites, many people, especially those who are in health groups vulnerable to COVID-19, are relying on internet resources for their information so that they may isolate at home as much as possible.  For these reasons, it is imperative that these sources of information are accurately updated in real-time.  
I urge the Mattapoisett town representatives, as well as fellow residents of Mattapoisett, to make voting access and information the highest priority in our town.  
Ashlee Kirkwood