TIVERTON — Following a low-turnout election, one Tiverton, Rhode Island, resident is hoping an increase in information will lead to more people heading to the polls.
During the last budget vote in Tiverton, there were only 321 residents that voted out of a total of 12,809 registered voters. Only 2.5 percent voted to decide the Tiverton town budget.
With a special charter commission election coming on July 18, rather than just being a concerned voter, town resident Maureen Umehara wanted to actually do something to change those problems.
“I wondered if people don’t vote because they don’t know how to get information about candidates, or even don’t know that the votes are coming up,” Umehara said. “If so, I thought I could help with that.”
She created a non-partisan website — tivertonvotes11.wixsite.com/tivri — where voters can find information on the candidates for the charter and what they stand for.
On the website, you can find general information, like why the candidates are running for the commission, if they want to change anything on the charter, if they have any concerns, what their approach will be and what skills they have that they will bring to the charter.
“I’m trying to create a nonpartisan place for Tiverton residents to get information about the candidates directly from the candidates,” Umehara said.
“All of the answers will be in their own writing, unless they ask me to look at them,” she added. “I’m hoping it motivates people to vote.”
Umehara said she’s open to input and feedback from anyone and has sought out feedback from both Democratic and Republican groups in Tiverton, as well as the Town Council and the Board of Canvassers on the website.
She’s also open to people submitting their own questions for answers, noting that this vote on July 18 will affect all of Tiverton.
“The vote on the charter is particularly important as the charter affects every aspect of town, so ultimately it will affect every town resident,” Umehara said.