RTM Thwarts Republican Effort to Overturn Vote in Greenwich

Newsletter Volume 1 • Number 36

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The Representative Town Meeting (RTM) soundly rejected a Republican-driven attempt on Monday to overturn a vote taken in January, one that took an outsized meaning when the far right objected to the outcome, which approved a $500,000 outside grant to our bipartisan registrars of voters.

Had the motion to rescind succeeded, it would have set a dangerous precedent for the RTM and democratic order: that votes are not final when closed, potentially spiraling the body into chaos. Parliamentary rules, which govern RTM procedures, clearly state that once votes are recorded, there are no re-dos under any circumstances. According to the moderator, the last time a vote was rescinded in the RTM was in 1940, and that was because the circumstances surrounding the item had changed.

“This motion to rescind is incompatible with foundational American principles of good governance. We are elected representatives, a governing body. Following the rules, no matter how unhappy we may be with them in this moment, is more important than anything else you have heard tonight.” 

Lucy von Brachel, RTM District 4 representative speaks against the motion to overturn January’s vote. Source: Greenwich Free Press

Many municipalities would be thrilled at the prospect of half a million dollars to offset costs to taxpayers as we transition to early voting, which will require new processes and procedures. But Greenwich Republicans saw dark forces behind the money, warning about “globalists” using “Zuckbucks” as a “Trojan horse” to try to influence election outcomes.

Our registrars of voters, Republican and Democratic, held numerous joint information sessions, dispelling every suspicion raised about the grant, answering every question, and reminding opponents that no money can be spent from the grant without approval from the RTM.

The relentless and aggressive Republican effort to overturn the vote may have more to do with ongoing nationwide efforts to restrict voting rights. Lawmakers in 32 states have introduced over 150 bills to make it harder for citizens to cast their votes. The Republican National Committee took note of Greenwich Republicans’ effort, contributing to their misinformation campaign.

The RTM is the Town’s legislative body, composed of 230 members representing 12 districts. All members of the RTM will be up for election this November. To learn how to run, click here.  Photo File / Greenwich Time

Ironically, RTM Republicans challenged last month’s loss by claiming that the body’s new electronic voting system itself was flawed, and have spent the last two months since then forcefully casting doubt on the integrity of the RTM’s own voting equipment. Apparently, this is the only way Republicans believe they can win elections. 

In contrast, another vote taken at Monday’s meeting to accept a smaller $9,600 grant to pay for membership fees for our registrars of voters lost by a tie-vote of 101-101. Democratic supporters did not demand a recount or revote, even though that vote failed on the narrowest of margins.

The RTM moderator and the company that operates the voting software confirmed that no “glitches” had occurred in January, and that if anyone’s vote was not recorded, it was due to user error. 

Tuesday night, after several dozen speakers debated rescinding the vote, cool heads prevailed, and far-right Republicans’ latest attempt to suppress or overturn results they don’t like failed, 118-98. Unfortunately, it may not be the last.

Legislative Corner

Watch our Congressman Jim Himes on Meet the Press, where he discusses the investigation into classified documents found in possession of Trump, Pence and Biden; and intelligence that China is considering providing lethal aid to Russia for its war against Ukraine. 

A bill introduced by State Representative Hector Arzeno to authorize state bonding for the creation and maintenance of biking and hiking trails passed the Environment Committee last week. Since the pandemic, CT’s recreational trails have seen use levels surge, and this bill provides a tool for municipalities to raise money to maintain and improve trails. 

State Representatives Rachel Khanna and Hector Arzeno joined over three dozen legislative colleagues in co-sponsoring a bill to support residents with intellectual disabilities. The bill would make it easier for applicants to receive medical services and establish a career pipeline for behavioral health providers.

Editorial that caught our eye

After 22 years of Names Day at GHS, Suddenly the Greenwich Republican Party has a problem with it? Democratic Town Party chairman Joe Angland condemns the Greenwich Republican Party’s attack on the Anti-Defamation League, and its program to raise awareness of bullying at Greenwich High School. “The ADL, founded in 1913, is the leading anti-hate organization in the world. The Greenwich Republican Party accuses the ADL of having strayed from its mission. They level the same accusations against the Greenwich League of Women Voters, the YWCA of Greenwich, and even our private schools.Perhaps it is not these organizations that have strayed from their mission, but the Greenwich Republican Party that has lost its way.”

 For your calendar

Drop in for coffee and conversation with State Representative Rachel Khanna on Saturday March 18 from 9:30 to 10:30 a.m. at The Country Table, 1 Glenville Street, Greenwich.

Volunteers Needed 

Greenwich High School students will be cleaning up the area around the campus and they’re looking for members of the community to help.

10th-grade student Thomas McKinney is hosting a cleanup on March 18 from 2 to 4 p.m. and is seeking volunteers to help. People will meet at the front circle in front of GHS and work on cleaning up the litter to protect the environment.

Volunteers should bring gloves and wear long pants. Community service hours can be provided for students taking part. Anyone with questions can send him an email at Thomas.mckinney@greenwichschools.org

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