Town to reschedule vote on cannabis, local-option sales tax

LONDONDERRY — Voters will need to wait for an opportunity to weigh in on both cannabis legalization in the community and the establishment of a 1-percent local-option sales tax, as the Special Town Meeting originally scheduled for Sept. 17 cannot proceed due to a complication with public notice for the meeting.

According to Town Administrator Shane O'Keefe, while the legal warning and notice for the Special Town Meeting was properly posted on the town's website and various public locations within the community, “it was not and cannot be published in the newspaper of record at least five days before the meeting as prescribed by Vermont law.”

The town's newspaper of record, which must be authorized by the Selectboard annually, is the Vermont Journal.

“A number of local news outlets published elements of a press release from the town that provided notice and details of the Town Meeting,” O'Keefe wrote in a news release, “but these did not satisfy the legal notice requirements.”

Required informational hearings took place on both Aug. 31 and Sept. 8. In addition to the Selectboard, town officials, and interested citizens, the hearings included representatives of the Vermont League of Cities and Towns, the Collaborative (a local substance abuse prevention organization), and a drug policy reform advocate.

On Sept. 13, the Selectboard voted to reschedule the special Town Meeting to Oct. 20.

O'Keefe said anyone who requested an early/absentee ballot for the original Sept. 17 vote will automatically be mailed a ballot once a new election date has been warned. New requests for the second ballot can be made at any time.

According to the website of the Vermont Secretary of State's Elections Division, “All early voter absentee ballot requests must be submitted by 5 p.m. or by the close of the town clerk's office on the day before the election.”

And all absentee ballots “must be returned to the town clerk's office before the close of the office on the day before the election, or to the polling place before 7 p.m. on the day of the election, in order to be counted.”

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