North Stonington - Both registrars of voters and First Selectman Nick Mullane are opposed to a proposal that will be considered at tonight's town meeting to extend referendum voting by six hours.
The meeting will take place at 7 p.m. at the elementary school. The latest budget proposal will also be considered at the meeting
The referendum proposal would allow voters to cast ballots from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m., rather than the current noon to 8 p.m. In a letter, Republican Registrar Gladys Chase and her Democratic counterpart, Marilyn Mackay, said the extended voting hours would increase the cost of each referendum by $500, an expense the town cannot afford. They also noted that at recent budget referenda, 700 to 750 residents voted, above historic numbers and despite parking difficulties caused by the village bridge being destroyed in the 2010 floods.
They said the change would be "a pointless waste of taxpayer revenue that would accomplish nothing" and urged residents to vote against the change at the town meeting.
Mullane said Sunday that the proposal was brought by the Board of Selectmen in response to complaints by some residents that they had not been able to get to the polls in time to vote. He said, however, that people can easily obtain absentee ballots to vote if they cannot make it during the hours the polls are open.
"It wouldn't be very cost effective," he said of the proposed change. "It's not as hard to vote as people make it out to be."