The vote of the people is sacred.
Except when it’s not.
And it obviously is not sacred in Nahant, where town officials are perpetuating a dangerous trend – if your vote doesn’t conform with the wishes of those in power, you have to vote again.
On April 30, voters in the town election rejected a proposed $260,000 override for the local schools. So, earlier this week, after receiving a petition from 173 residents, the Board of Selectmen voted to hold a special election on June 25 to reconsider it.
Such things don’t happen often, but they should never happen.
The justifications for it are the same lame talking points always presented in such circumstances, the worst of which is the condescending declaration that voters just didn’t understand what they were doing.
“The process of an override is not an easy process for lay people to go through, and some of the selectmen felt that some people thought they had voted at Town Meeting, and (did not need to vote) on the ballot,’’ Town Administrator Marc Cullinan said.
Ah, yes. It’s so difficult for lay people to understand what politicians and government workers understand instinctively – that higher taxes and spending are the answer to every problem.
This is incoherent on every level. If the override had been approved, Cullinan and others would be talking about how brilliant the voters are. There would be no calls for a do-over. It is only when they reject more spending that their intelligence is called into question.
Yes, there was a split between voters at Town Meeting, who approved the override, while those at the ballot did not. But if that is a mystery to town officials, it is their intelligence that ought to be questioned.
Town meetings are invariably stacked with those who want more and bigger government. The rest don’t have time to come to the meetings because they are working so hard to pay government bills. They also don’t want to get attacked by government employees and other spending advocates for expressing their views. So they speak at the ballot box, which is their right – a right that should not be undermined.
Finally, what would any of the selectmen say if, at the next election, they held their seat, but a losing challenger demanded a special election to reconsider the matter, arguing that the voters just didn’t understand what they were doing?
The loser would be, quite properly, laughed out of town.
If town officials think an override is justified, they can try again next year, when there will be another election. The voters have spoken. It is shameful, and ought to be illegal, to force them, at public expense, to speak again.