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Presidential election year keeps Town Clerk’s office busy

If you have any election questions, contact the Brattleboro Town Clerk’s office at 802-251-8129 or acappy@brattleboro.org.

BRATTLEBORO—Brattleboro Town Clerk Annette Cappy and Assistant Town Clerk Jane Fletcher barely stopped for breath as people walked through the clerks’s door one after another asking for early ballots.

On Feb. 22, with a little more than a week until Vermont’s March 1 presidential primary, Cappy said her office has processed close to 500 early ballots.

“We have been super busy,” wrote Cappy in an email.

Most of the 500 ballots arrived by mail. Approximately 175 voters cast their early ballots in person. Cappy estimates 15 ballot requests arrived through email.

“It is always super busy in a presidential [year] but since there is not an incumbent and it is all up for grabs, the interest appears a bit higher than average,” Cappy continued. “The fact that Bernie is in the race also contributes to the increase.”

During the 2012 presidential election, Cappy and her staff processed 450 early ballots which accounted for 22 percent of the total voter turnout of 1,829.

People registering to vote for the first time in Brattleboro have kept also the Town Clerk’s office busy.

Vermont now allows people to register online, Cappy said. The data entry associated with maintaining a town’s voter checklist, however, remains at the local level.

“In a presidential year, our checklist can easily increase by 300-400 new voters,” she said.

Voting for local elections and the primary both happen on March 1. Brattleboro voters will also cast ballots for three Selectboard seats, Town Meeting Members, and other local officials.

Cappy anticipates the pace will remain steady through March 1.

According to Cappy, the deadline to register to vote is Wednesday, Feb. 24, at 5 pm.

The last day to cast an early ballot is Monday, Feb. 29, at 5 p.m. Cappy is holding special office hours on Saturday, Feb. 27, from 9 a.m. - 12 noon “for anyone wishing to avoid the crowds on Tuesday.”

Polling place for all three districts in Brattleboro is the Selectboard Meeting Room, second floor of the Municipal Center from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Other notes from Cappy include:

• Parking: The entire back parking lot at the Municipal Center will be reserved for voters on election day. There are handicapped parking spaces close to the back entrance.

• Access: There is an elevator immediately inside the door to take voters to the second floor for voting.

• Open seats: Town Meeting members are still needed in each district.

• Write-in Candidates: Anyone interested in running for a position as a write-in candidate must file a Declaration of Candidacy with the town clerk by the close of the polls on election day in order for their votes to be counted. Declarations of Candidacy will be posted on a bulletin board at the polls so voters will be aware of those interested in vacant positions.

• Information: Election information is posted on www.brattleboro.org.

• Results: Election results will be posted on the town website as soon as possible after the polls close that evening.

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Originally published in The Commons issue #345 (Wednesday, February 24, 2016).

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