Vote for a recount

To the Editor:

The moral of one of Aesop’s fables was “the early bird gets the worm.” It implies that arriving early gives you an advantage.

If the worm was a valid vote, then Aesop would not be happy. At last Tuesday night’s Bar Harbor town meeting, the moral was “the night owl gets the worm.”

I was one of the night owls at the Bar Harbor town meeting, getting home after midnight. However, my current problem is a loss of voting rights of the early birds.

I was one of the witnesses to what Mount Desert Islander reporter Liz Graves described in the front page article of June 8. She reported that “a substantial group of voters left after the first show-of-hands … (but) … before the results were tabulated.” These are what I refer to as the early birds.

These early birds left the meeting between the first show-of-hands voting on Article S and the final “paper ballot.” My concern is that the eventual voting tally did not truly demonstrate the will of the people.

The lateness of the hour should not be a determining factor in any significant, important or too-close-to-call vote. I believe the methodology of the counting of the show-of-hand voting is flawed and open to inaccuracy. The vote count on earlier ballot questions by show-of-hand was accepted without question. However on the question of Article S, the complaint of “I was not counted” was raised. This is/was an avoidable error. There should be a more accurate process.

One alternate method of voting by show-of-hands would be to have all card holders stand up, be counted by individual row. It would be a longer process, indeed, but more accurate and reliable.

A related issue is that as the evening gets later, the number of voters dwindles. Truly the night owls decided many issues long after most of the early bird voters had left. The original number of voters was at least four times greater than the final voting number.

On possible solution would be to have all written ballot articles scheduled first in the town meeting. Absentee ballots for those that need to leave early also should be considered.

I would be interested in the opinions of other Bar Harbor voters.

Huge topics like those addressed by the Parking Solutions Task Force should never be determined by flawed, systemically weak voting methods. I consider the results of last week’s town meeting to be unfair. To leave the results as they currently stand would be an unethical disenfranchisement not only to a substantial group of the early-bird voters, but for all future similar late-night and too-close-to-call votes. I vote for a recount.

Walter J. Healey

Bar Harbor


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