ACT Board election campaign enters final stretch
three weeks to election day
WEDNESDAY, MARCH 21—Yesterday, on the warm first evening of Spring 2012, residents and candidates in the April 10 ACT Board election got a chance to meet at a candidates event sponsored by the organization. At least 29 of the candidates were present. Ballots for ACT’s second Governing Board election have started arriving in the ACT post office box. There are 27 candidates for the Board’s 19 public housing seats and 39 for the 19 voucher seats. In addition, three who did not meet the deadline for the printed ballot have aanounced intend to run write-in campaigns.
Vice-Mayor Denise Simmons opened the event recalling her start in politics as a community organizer. She said there were not many organizations like ACT left in Cambridge and that the whole city, including the CHA, should be as glad as she is that ACT exists. Simmons stressed the need for perseverence and gave the example of the LBJ Tenant Council successfully pushing to get their bus stop restored with a shelter structure.
The candidates' event was chaired by Jack Cooper of the Mass Union of Public Housing Tenants. Cooper told the candidates that, although not all of them could win Board seats on April 10, there were plenty of opportunities to get involved in ACT through its committees.
In addition, since some elected Board members would drop out for one reason or another, candidates who didn't get enough votes on April 10 might be asked to take vacated seats some time over the next two years.
There are now three weeks remaining for residents to mail in their ballots. The ACT Election Committee urges people to vote as soon as they make up their minds, since mail has a way of getting misplaced and you might forget and let the date slip by. In 2009 dozens of ballots were received too late to be counted.
However voters will also have the option of casting their ballots on ACT’s election day, Tuesday, April 10. On that day the League of Women Voters will staff six ACT polling places for two hours, between 4:30 and 6:30. All eligible voters may use any of the polling places, whether or not they live in the developments where the polls are located.
POLLING PLACES will be in the community rooms at these developments:
•Millers River Apartments
•Pisani Center (Newtowne Court-Washington Elms)
As they did in 2009, the Arlington League of Women Voters will supervise the final count in the evening. The count will take place in the Terrace Room at Manning Apartments and will be open to observers.
Residents had until February 20th to secure a place on the ACT ballot. All eligible households were mailed application forms. Those who missed the deadline may still run write-in campaigns. Normally community elections of this kind do not see a large turnout. But with so many residents seeking a position, the ACT election could be different.
The Alliance of Cambridge Tenants (ACT) is an independent, tenant-run, organization with an all-volunteer staff. It has an elected Governing Board with 38 members. Half of the members are public housing residents, and half are tenants with vouchers—mostly Section 8. Together they lead the first citywide tenant organization in the USA to represent public housing and voucher residents equally.
Nominations opened on January 19 and closed on February 20. Every eligible household received notices and nomination papers in the mail. Any Cambridge public housing resident age 18 or over is eligible to run for a seat on the Board. So is any tenant who has a voucher administered by the Cambridge Housing Authority (CHA).
ACT elects its public housing representatives by district and its voucher representatives from the entire city at-large.
Thus residents who live in public housing will choose from among candidates who live in their own district. A district consists of one or more developments run by the same CHA manager.
Voucher holders will choose from a single list of all voucher candidates citywide—and outside Cambridge too, because there are over 600 CHA voucher households located in neighboring cities.
The newly-elected Board will meet on Saturday, April 21 in a special welcoming and orientation session. Runner-up candidates and friends of ACT will also be invited. The Board’s first regular session will take place the following Saturday, April 28. On that day they will pick the organization's executive officers for the next two years.
When the locations and exact times of those meetings are determined, they will be announced on this site.
SOURCE:Alliance of Cambridge Tenants (www.actcambridge.org.)