Westborough's October and spring town meetings can try electronic voting -- for free -- if voters approve.
Vendor Option Technologies Interactive has offered Westborough the two free sessions with its equipment, Town Moderator Joe Harrington told selectmen Tuesday night.
With voters' approval at the start of the town meeting, voting would be done using electronic clickers "simpler than your TV remote," rather than slips of paper, said Harrington, a member of Westborough's Electronic Voting Ad Hoc Committee.
Selectmen formed the committee this spring to study whether voting
electronically at town meeting makes sense for Westborough, and to
report back to the board.
Selectmen on Tuesday night endorsed doing the two free tests.
Harrington said Town Clerk Nancy Yendriga will begin publicizing the topic after Labor Day.
"We don't want people to be surprised when people come in," Harrington said.
This spring, Yendriga, Selectmen George Barrette and Denny Drewry, and Advisory Finance Committee
Chairman Edward Behn attended Wayland’s town meeting, which uses an
electronic voting system.
Harrington said Wayland uses OTI.
Harrington said he will ask voters at the October town meeting to allow a "rule of the meeting" to use the clickers.
He also will propose two articles for the October town meeting: one to get a sense of the meeting's feelings on asking that a line item for electronic voting be included in the budget starting July 1, 2014; and, if that passes, a "bylaw change to allow for electronic voting," he said.
Westborough could have the free trials without supporting funding the equipment for future meetings, Harrington said.
"There may well be people who say, 'It's marvelous. I like it. But I don't want to pay for it," Harrington said.