“I don’t know if they’ll approve the Vote Center plan or not [on Thursday night],” he said. “If they vote it down completely, that’s fine with me; it wouldn’t break my heart.”
Gatewood has also voiced concerns over the costs of switching to a Vote Center system.
“We as a county need more time to look at this,” he said, “more time to look at what other counties are doing and to analyze the numbers as to what the actual costs will be. The numbers have been changing with each version.”
Gatewood added that, in his capacity as a representative for Westport, he never proposed a lawsuit.
“I think that was private citizens talking about lawsuits,” he said, adding that, as an elected representative of Westport, he feels satisfied with the flexibility the Election Board has demonstrated in working with him to create an acceptable draft of the Vote Center proposal.
Still, Gatewood has been, overall, very dissatisfied with the way the Election Board has handled the process of drafting and presenting its numerous Vote Center proposals.
“I think the tail has been wagging the dog a little bit here,” he said. “For one, they [the Election Board] didn’t follow the process detailed on the state’s website. They didn’t show me any documentation that they had researched this and gauged public interest before they even floated their first plan. As far as I can tell, I think they used the community meetings to gauge public interest [regarding the switch to a Vote Center system].”
According to Gatewood’s understanding of the process, public interest in a Vote Center system is supposed to be researched and documented before a draft is created.
“I would’ve liked to have seen this come from county leadership down to the incorporated towns, rather than led out of the Clerk’s Office,” he said. “The County Council has much broader representation and a much better pulse on the overall county as a whole than the clerk’s office does.”