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Placement counts

Sept. 26, 2013 |

It’s time for Chicopee’s mayor and City Council members to correct one of the most serious handicaps to non-incumbents having a level playing field on election day. Not so many years ago, the position of a candidate's name on the Chicopee ballot was left strictly to chance – a drawing for the order each name would appear on the ballot was conducted. Today incumbents are listed first, and in the case of offices having more than one incumbent, the names of those in office are all listed first on the ballot. Challengers are then listed alphabetically. The ballot's playing field is slanted in favor of incumbents, and those few newcomers to Chicopee’s political arena have an unfair handicap. This change was approved by the then aldermen and mayor and is one reason some Chicopee officials have remained in office for the past decade or more. You can correct this unfair advantage enjoyed by incumbents. As candidates approach you seeking support at your door, at their fundraisers, or at public venues, ask them to change the current practice for the next election. A minor point? The Chicopee election results of the past 20 plus years suggests it is not. Jim Raschilla Chicopee

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