Wouldn’t an All Day Financial Town Referendum Be More Democratic Than A Financial Town Meeting?
Currently, the Town of Tiverton determines its annual budget via the Financial Town Meeting.
On November 8, Tiverton voters will have the opportunity to consider switching from a Financial Town Meeting to a Financial Town Referendum. [Text of the referendum question here.] Which process is more democratic?
Set aside the facility offered by the FTMeeting to undemocratically manipulate the process and to undemocratically introduce last minute amendments. Set aside that the FTMeeting does not offer the important democratic facility of voting in private or ensuring that all votes have been counted. Set aside the temptation for unscrupulous officials to – most undemocratically of all – simply disregard the law when conducting the FTMeeting so as to secure an outcome that advances their own selfish rather than the town’s best interest.
Prior Tiverton FTMeetings have played host to all of these highly undesireable activities. But disregard all of these and just focus on the contrast of the processes of an FTMeeting versus an FTReferendum.
An FTMeeting requires attendance by voters of several hours and possibly again for several hours on a second day. If you’re sick or you have to work or you have other obligations during this timeframe, you don’t get to participate in the budget process or vote on the final product.
By contrast, the voting window of an FTReferendum is much longer (twelve hours or longer) yet the time commitment required of a voter is much less. He or she need simply show up at the voting booth at some point during the day – exactly like a regular election day – in order to cast a vote, a process that might take on average ten minutes, as opposed to hours and perhaps days.
Isn’t it kind of a no-brainer that an FTR is far more democratic than an FTM?