My voting experience in Haverhill yesterday had me laughing and shaking my head all the way to my car. When I walked in there were six women and one police officer there. The first woman asked me for my name, the second woman handed me my ballot. When I was finished voting, the third woman asked me for my name again. The fourth and fifth women just stared. The sixth woman was seated at the ballot box and her job was to watch me place my ballot in the box. The officer never looked up, too busy on his hand held. You do the math. At $150 for each person and 21 precincts that comes to about $19,000. Heaven only knows what 21 police officers cost. Haverhill is the only city I know that can complain about money at the same time they’re throwing it away. No wonder there’s never any money to give teachers a raise.
I’m glad that the voters of Haverhill approved building a new Hunking School. But it does bother me a lot that it wasn’t included in a general election, an election with a much higher turnout. People with special interests turn out in much higher numbers for these special elections. I wouldn’t be surprised, for example, if every public school teacher voted, or more than half of the parents of school kids in Bradford, and on other side every single cranky skinflint and child-hater in Haverhill, while the vast majority of the rest of us stayed home. These special elections are a way of greatly tipping the scales in favor of the people who want to pass something. I don’t know if the law requires them in cases like this one, but if it does, it’s a very bad, and undemocratic, law. But I repeat, I’m glad we’ll have a new Hunking School, even though I’m not a teacher or a parent, and I live north of the river.