Council decides 3-2 to mail ballots

CAMBRIDGE — City Commissioners decided by a vote of 3-2 during their Monday meeting to mail ballots to voters for the Oct. 17 city election. Commissioners Steve Rideout (Ward 1), Dave Cannon (Ward 4) and Robert Hanson (Ward 5) were in favor, while Commissioners Donald Sydnor (Ward 2) and LaShon Foster (Ward 3) were opposed.

The council had discussed the ballot issue during a July 8 work session. Polling places will still be open for those who choose to vote in person.
Mayor Victoria Jackson-Stanley said Monday evening, “If we didn’t have a coronavirus threat hanging over us, we would probably do this differently.”
Commissioner LaShon Foster, who is running for mayor, released a statement on July 9, opposing the suggestion to include mail-in ballots. In it, she questioned the security of ballots in the Post Office.

“There will be no accountability as to who mailed theirs in or if they have been documented,” she wrote. And a person could vote in person after mailing a ballot, she wrote, adding, “They will just simply throw your first ballot away when they find it.”

On Monday, Commissioner Foster said, “We have a problem with the first time in history, you can vote twice.”
However, the mayor said, the issue up for a vote in the emergency charter amendment was only whether the city would mail ballots, not the process.

Mayor Jackson-Stanley said in discussions with the county’s Election Board a couple of years ago, city officials asked if they would could hold their elections at the same time as the presidential voting in November. “We were told we would not be allowed,” she said, explaining why the city’s count will be in October.