The town of Hartford is considering a change to its voting structure in an effort to maximize turnout and re-engage residents in local politics. Currently, both school and municipal budgets are voted on using standard Australian ballots – but if either item were to fail, a provision in the town’s legislation requires a re-vote following a floor-meeting.
This practice was put into action last March when voters rejected the proposed school budget, only to see it pass a month later after the floor meeting. According to the Valley News, more than 1,500 votes were cast during standard voting, but only 350 voters decided the budget’s final fate during the floor meeting.
Those for floor meetings say it engages voters in productive dialogue that privies residents to more information, while those against the style say people are discouraged from attending hour-long meetings and would rather swing by a voting station open all day.