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Natick Town Clerk Advises Moving Polling Station from Kennedy to Brown

Diane Packard says handicap access is better at the elementary school than the middle school.

Natick voters in Precincts 1 and 3 will likely have a new polling station at Brown Elementary School come March 25. Patch file photo
Natick voters in Precincts 1 and 3 will likely have a new polling station at Brown Elementary School come March 25. Patch file photo

Natick Town Clerk Diane Packard would like to make voting easier for handicapped residents in Precincts 1 and 3 and believes there's an easy solution to making it happen.

During the Jan. 27 Board of Selectmen meeting, Packard advised moving the polling station from Kennedy Middle School to the adjacent Brown Elementary School.

"The handicap access at Kennedy ... the doors are significantly further away from the polling station," she said. "There's no button to push. Someone has to be there to open the door."

Packard also said the front doors at Kennedy are the only handicap-accessible entrance and are locked during Election Day.

During the election on Dec. 10, Packard said she rented an accessible ramp for Election Day, which was installed over the stairs to the gym entrance. The ramp, which was approved by Building Commissioner David Gusmini, cost $1,544. 

"This ramp did not address the issue that this door does not have an automatic opener," she said.

Gusmini and Packard decided to look at Brown School as an alternative. Brown is newer than Kennedy, and has its gym directly to the left of the main entrance, which is fully handicap accessible.

Packard said Superintendent Peter Sanchioni supported the idea.

The Board unanimously approved the move.

Packard said postcards will be mailed out to residents in those precincts to notify them of the change in polling location.

The only hurdle left is approval by the state, which Packard doesn't believe will be a problem.

"This will take effect March 25 if state helps out," she said. "I don’t see a problem with that."

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