By Adam Swift
The City Council approved the warrant for the Tuesday, Sept. 19 preliminary municipal election at its meeting last week.
An active election season this year sees city-wide preliminary races for Mayor and Councillor-at-Large and ward races for council seats in wards 1, 4, and 5.
With three of the current at-large councillors â€“ Steve Morabito, Dan Rizzo, and Gerry Visconti â€“ joining former Council President and Ward 4 Councillor Patrick Keefe in the mayorâ€™s race, the council will look markedly different come 2024. In addition, Ward 6 Councillor Richard Serino is not running for reelection this year, meaning that there will be at least five new faces on the 11-member council.
While the council quickly passed the warrant for the preliminary election, members did ask some general questions of Election Commissioner Paul Fahey about this yearâ€™s election.
One area of concern during the past several elections has been the lighting of the polling location at the Beachmont School. Morabito asked Fahey what the department was doing about that issue this year.
Fahey said he and his staff were scheduled to go to all the school polling locations with the school departmentâ€™s facilities director and school custodians to review the elections set-ups.
â€œWe store some of our election items at the different schools, depending on their storage availability, and thatâ€™s one of the issues they are going to be looking at and trying to improve,â€ said Fahey. â€œWeâ€™re going to have a more standard set up of how the polling locations are that reflect lighting, as well as keeping where we have multiple precincts in one location â€“ we are literally going to have a divider you will see when you go in for the preliminary to make it very clear that if you have two or three precincts (where you will vote),â€ said Fahey.
Ward 3 Councillor Anthony Cogliandro thanked Fahey and the election department for making the polling locations more visible with lighting and signage.
â€œWe purchased what are called the feather flags, and we will have those at each location,â€ said Fahey.
In addition to approving the warrant for the preliminary election, the council also approved the assigning of police details for each polling location.
â€œOur practice has been to have one officer at each polling location during the day, and that is 10 locations in this cycle,â€ said Fahey. â€œIâ€™ve spoken to the chief, and we are in agreement about the detailing.â€