(The letter was originally sent to the Board of Registrars)
To the editor: I felt it my civic duty and obligation not only as a registered voter of Nantucket, but a lifelong resident of Nantucket to write to you and bring my concerns to you regarding the complaint filed by Ms. Williams regarding Mrs. Rayport’s voter registration status on Nantucket and the process that has followed.
As a little background; I initially met Mrs. Rayport in 2014 when her son was a student of mine on Nantucket. In all of my interaction with Mrs. Rayport, she struck me as a very kind, honest and fair person.
Over the years I have crossed paths with Mrs. Rayport in other capacities within our community. Mrs. Rayport has always been well spoken, well researched, very courteous, community minded, socially responsible and committed as an important member of our community. I have never witnessed Mrs. Rayport act in anything other than a selfless way for the good of our entire community. Mrs. Rayport spends her own personal time, effort, energy, and funds to better our community in ways we should all be grateful for. Mrs. Rayport has continued to be entrenched in our community and volunteered to serve on many of our community boards, both nonprofit and governmental. Mrs. Rayport’s dedication to our community is something many aspire to and few achieve.
In looking at the process that has transpired since Ms. Williams complaint, I have a few concerns and opinions. The first concern and opinion that comes to mind is this appears to be an attempt to try to intimidate voters and disenfranchise people in the community. One can only register to vote in one place. One may own a home in multiple locations but they are required by law to choose only one location to vote. Mrs. Rayport has done that. She owns a home on Nantucket, she spends a great deal of time here, and she chooses to vote on Nantucket. Mrs. Rayport has been a registered voter in Nantucket since 2019 and has been coming to Nantucket for 23 years. This type of voter intimidation that in my opinion appears to be going on is something like what we have seen in other parts of our country that I thought would never ever be able to touch Nantucket.
It saddens me to think some feel the need to try to disenfranchise and intimidate community members from voting and to deprive the voters of their legally due process.
I am also concerned with, in my opinion, the highly unusual meeting being held on a Sunday at 3:30 p.m. with Town counsel already being made available prior to this Board’s decision to hold a hearing. Who gives permission and clearance to have Town counsel present at a hearing especially on a Sunday?
In my personal opinion, I feel this is a thinly vailed attempt at voter intimidation especially given Mrs. Rayport legally presented an article, using the democratic process of Town Meeting, to the voters of Town Meeting which passed and is currently at the State level. The losing side has attempted to stop the democratic process of Town Meeting. There is a highly controversial Town meeting upon us and I fear Ms. Williams is trying to intimidate the other 400 people she referenced from attending and voting. Does Ms. Williams plan on filing a complaint with this Board about all of them? Why out of the referenced 400 people was Mrs. Rayport singled out? Why now after all the years Mrs. Rayport has been voting and attending town meetings? Who wants their private water usage pulled? Does how many times you flush your toilet indicate who should be legally allowed to exercise their constitutional voting rights? How does water usage apply to homeless people who also have the same legal constitutional right to vote as every other member of our Commonwealth does according to the Secretary of State?
As a voter, I am extremely concerned that this is something that might be allowed to happen here. Nantucket has many people who divide their time between homes they own but are part of the Nantucket Community. Voter intimidation and suppression is a very slippery slope that we do not want to go down. I urge this Board to consider the consequences of the actions, intended or unintended, of Ms. Williams complaint.
I appreciate the Board’s responsibility and due diligence to do what is right both legally, ethically and for our community.
Thank you all for your time and consideration.