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Official Town Meeting facilities roll call is wrong

October 28, 2014

Due to Town Clerk error, two Town Meeting Representatives have been permanently recorded as having voted in favor of Article 17, the Board of Selectmen’s proposed facilities plan, at last week’s Town Meeting, when in fact both RTMs voted “no.”

Tim Hempton, a RTM from Precinct 1, and John Vaillancourt, a RTM from Precinct 5, were accidentally marked by the Town Clerk as “yes” in favor of the measure during last Wednesday’s roll call vote. In reality, both RTMs voted “no” during the roll call, as attested by witnesses. Mr. Vaillancourt himself was one of the plan’s most vocal opponents – even submitting a substitute motion of his own that would have modified the plan to avert an override.

After both Mr. Hempton and Mr. Vaillancourt were informed of the error by other RTMs after Town Meeting, they attempted to have their votes changed by the Town Clerk to reflect how they had truly voted. But the Town Clerk said the votes could not be changed unless the vote itself had been brought up for “reconsideration” at Town Meeting.

As a result, Mr. Hempton and Mr. Vaillancourt are permanently recorded in Walpole Town Meeting annals as having voted in favor of the plan, with no recourse.

It is unknown whether there are potentially other mistakes in the roll call as well. The two-vote difference, however, would not be enough to overturn the results of the vote. The article passed with 2/3 support.

The Town Clerk is responsible for calling the roll and recording the votes at Town Meeting.

The official roll call from the Town Clerk, with the inaccurate votes, records Article 17 as having passed with a vote of 94-34. 180’s official version of the roll call, including the correct votes, indicates the measure passed 92-36.

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