From Town Hall: Perspectives on the Miller-Driscoll renovation vote

The winners of the recent vote in support of a renovated and modernized Miller-Driscoll School are the young school children of Wilton. I applaud the voters who correctly understood that the school needed upgrading and that the key question before the town was whether we improved the school now or we paid for the improvements later when the required upgrades would be considerably more expensive.

While the vote tally was close among the 17% of eligible voters who cast their ballots, I believe that the number of citizens who supported the proposal was considerably more than that figure reflects. On the issue that was before the voters, it is my perspective that most of those comprising the 83% who didn’t vote were either satisfied with the proposition or were not concerned enough to express a negative preference.

As evidence, please consider that during the last three presidential votes, in 2004, 2008 and 2012, the average turnout was 88% of Wilton’s then eligible voters. When the voters of Wilton are worried about the outcome of a vote or feel that they must express their preferences, they go to the polls in great numbers. When there is less concern about the outcome of a vote and the citizens believe that town leaders  are proposing a worthy endeavor — in this case, the unanimous endorsements of the Board of Selectmen, the Board of Finance and the Board of Education — there is less urgency to express an opinion.

Consequently, when 83% of Wilton’s eligible voters decided not to vote, I believe they were tacitly expressing their support for the proposition on the ballot. While it may be of no consequence now, rather than being a “close” vote as characterized by many commentators, it is my personal opinion that the outcome of the referendum was supported by the broader majority of Wilton citizens.

In summary, the town clerk’s office has entered the Special Town Meeting’s election results into the official Town Procedures records. The Miller-Driscoll Building Committee will continue to function publicly and will start the construction process sequence that will completely renovate this facility for the prime beneficiaries — the young schoolchildren of Wilton.