Opinion: Remote access to government meetings is our right

Jun 24, 2021

To the Editor:

Governor Baker, Attorney General Healey, leaders of disability advocacy organizations, the Editorial Board of the Boston Globe, the New England First Amendment Coalition, ACLU and others have said that open meetings weren’t accessible to many before the pandemic. 

If you were a single mom with no ability to get a sitter; a parent making meals and supervising homework; a person with a hearing, vision or any other disability; someone without transportation or out of town; a kid interested in how the town runs; or a person exhausted from a day of work, attending meetings in person might not be possible.

During the pandemic, when attending meetings virtually was allowed, civic engagement and knowledge of town decisions rose dramatically. Laws for this new type of open meeting have been submitted in Boston.

In Wareham, Town Planner Ken Buckland has said that he is working for hybrid open meetings in person with remote access, but that Wareham's IT is not capable and advances are expensive. He has asked WCTV to stand in until the town can take over. Perhaps someone in town could help provide this essential service to Wareham voters.

Sincerely, Annie Hayes