City Upgrading Elections Procedures

New Safeguards, Training, Staffing, and Equipment Result From
Comprehensive Review Following March Presidential Primary

NEW BEDFORDThe City is implementing a range of reforms following a review of voter complaints during the March 6 Presidential Primary.

Ryan A. Pavao, acting first assistant city solicitor, was tasked by Mayor Jon Mitchell to review complaints and make recommendations for improvement. The review’s recommendations include:

  • Changing the allocation of political party ballots at polling locations and establishing a protocol to inspect/re-count ballots before distribution to the precincts.
  • Maintain at least three runners, or poll workers responsible for supply trips back and forth from City Hall, per election.
  • Establish a procedure in which poll workers will automatically call for resupply of ballots when the number on hand reaches a certain level.
  • Update training requirements to include custodial workers and police officers.
  • Involve voting machines and other election equipment in preelection training.
  • Update poll worker training materials to incorporate updates and/or revisions in state and federal election law, and have state Elections Division review the materials prior to distribution.
  • Promulgate educational information to voters, particularly regarding party enrollment, deadlines, and voter registration requirements.

“We are continually looking for ways to improve the services City government delivers,” Mayor Mitchell said. “These procedure and training improvements will make our elections run more smoothly.”

The City has already begun to implement the recommendations, with additional resources being deployed to the Elections Office. These include the purchase of new high-speed equipment for ballot counting and mailings, additional voting machines, and staffing, some of which are presently pending City Council approval. All together, these investments total $163,000.