Election geometry irks some voters

November 19, 2010
By

David Taber

The number of questions on the ballot in the Nov. 2 state election was to blame for leaving some Jamaica Plain residents feeling like their right to cast a secret ballot had been compromised.

The ballots were printed on 8 -inch by 14-inch sheets of paper, but security folders provided so voters could hide their ballots as they carried them to voting machines were only 8 inches by 11 inches.

“Basically, the ballot sheet got larger, but the cover sheet did not,” Jamaica Plain voter Kevin Guarnotta told the Gazette in a phone interview. “I am not that concerned about people seeing who I voted for, but if I were, I would be upset,” he said.

Guarnotta said he called the Secretary of the Commonwealth’s office and the Boston Election Department to complain.

He said the person he talked to at the state elections division said they had fielded “thousands of similar complaints” that day. “People at the city did not take my concerns seriously,” he said.

Officials from the Secretary of the Commonwealth’s office did not respond to Gazette questions about the security folders by press time.

Gerry Cuddyer from the Boston Election Department told the Gazette that the city is not required by law to offer security folders at polling places, and that they are there as a “courtesy.” A larger security folder would be “unwieldy,” she said.

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