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Feb 20, 2003 to Feb 6, 2013

Brattleboro Early/Absentee Ballots Available

Early/absentee ballots for the Brattleboro Town School District special meeting to be held November 7, are now available in the Brattleboro, town clerk's office – for those registered to vote in Brattleboro. If you are registered to vote in Dummerston, Guilford or Putney, please contact those Town Clerks for details. Anyone wishing to vote prior to November 7 may apply for an early/absentee ballot until 5:00 p.m. on Monday, November 6. Early/absentee ballots may be voted in person in the clerk's office, mailed to the voter by the clerk's office, picked up by the voter or delivered to the voter's residence by two justices of the peace. All voted ballots must be received by the clerk before the polls close on election day in order to be counted. For more information or to request an early/absentee ballot call 251-8157.

A sample Brattleboro ballot and meeting warning can be found on our website at www.brattleboro.org, or http://www.brattleboro.org/index.asp?SEC=FFED1EC2-A91E-4068-B082-FDC98D7...

There is no deadline to register to vote. You will be able to register to vote on the day of the election. You can register prior by visiting the town clerk’s office or going online to olvr.sec.state.vt.us.

If you are unsure if your name is listed as a registered voter or for more information about voter registration and early/absentee voting, contact the town clerk’s office at 251-8157.

Office hours for the Brattleboro Town Clerk’s office are 8:30AM – 5:00PM, Monday through Friday. The office will be closed Tuesday, November 7, election day.

Voting on November 7, will be held in the Selectboard Meeting Room of the Municipal Center, 230 Main Street. Polling hours are 10:00 AM to 7:00 PM.

Thank you,

Hilary Francis
Brattleboro Town Clerk
230 Main Street, Suite 108
Brattleboro. VT 05301

ph 802-251-8129
fax 802-257-2312


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Ahh, the annual voter puzzle.

How does one vote for a write-in candidate in advance of election day? It is impossible!

No one may vote for a write-in that hasn't declared themselves as a write in (silly new rule), but that list of "approved" write-in candidates is not available until election day.

Anyone one voting early is denied the certainty of writing in a candidate. That vote might be tossed out, just because someone else didn't register.

Brattleboro should rescind this recent and unnecessary charter change that mandates registration of write-in candidates. It was set up to save a tiny bit of time, but disenfranchises local voters as a result, and doesn't allow all voters the same voting powers and information.

A "registered write-in" is basically a candidate - and we voters lose out on choosing to vote for whomever we feel is best.



I'm an early voter, and several times now have had no way to even know who to write in. This rule needs to go. Ridiculous and unfair.


Crystal ball?

It sort of works when there are candidates, but when a ballot is full of write-ins, the early voting becomes a mess. How can you know who is on the official election day list of registered write-ins before election day?


On to the actual issue

Aside from the inability for an early voter to write someone in, the actual ballot question is rather daunting.

"Shall the Brattleboro Town School District, which the State Board of Education has found necessary to include in the proposed unified school district, join with the following school districts Brattleboro Union High School District, Dummerston Town School District, Guilford Town School District, and the Putney Town School District, which the State Board of Education has found necessary to include in the proposed unified school district for the purpose of forming a unified school district to be named the Windham Southeast Unified Union School District, as provided in Title 16, Vermont Statutes Annotated, upon the following conditions and agreements"

---(Okay, we'll pause for all of that to sink in. It seems to say "will you vote for this thing the state demands?" Hopefully writing clearly will become a focus of this new district.)

"(a) Grades. Beginning July 1, 2019, the unified school district will offer pre-kindergarten through grade twelve education to all the students in the unified union school district"

--- (That's what we think of as a school... we're off to a good start!)

"(b) Board of School Directors. The Windham Southeast Unified School District Board of Directors will be comprised of nine (9) school directors. Seven (7) members will be elected by and from the electorate of the individual towns based on proportional representation and two (2) members will be elected at large from the combined electorate of the Unified District.

Four (4) school directors are designated to be held by eligible residents of Brattleboro and one (1) school director is designated to be held by eligible residents of each the following communities: Dummerston, Guilford, and Putney. Two (2) school directors are designated as at-large members and may be held by eligible residents of any of the above referenced towns."

-- (Is it "at large" or "at-large". The ballot writer couldn't decide. And why do we get to hold school directors? Aren't the positions of school director to be held by people? I'm not sure I want to hold a school director.)

"(c) Assumption of debts and ownership of school property. The unified union school district shall assume the indebtedness of member districts and assume all operating deficits and/or surpluses or reserve funds of the member districts; acquire and pay for the school properties of member districts; all as specifically identified and provided for in the Final Report. The complete provisions of Article 6 and 7 as set forth in the Final Report are incorporated in their entirety by reference herein."

---( What Final Report? Is it attached? (No))

(d) Final Report. The provisions of the Final Report approved by the State Board of Education on September 20, 2017 which is on file in the Brattleboro Town Clerk's office, shall govern the unified union school district.

--- (Oh, that Final Report... we voters will need to track it down and read it before voting...)

That concludes the first part of the ballot. The second part assumes that you voted in favor of all this, and then asks you to elect your new reps. Here we run into the write-in problem. Many of the available slots have no candidates, but we aren't allowed to simply vote for who we feel would do best. All write-ins must be registered and a list is available on election day. Four of the six slots have no names (at least on the sample ballot...), so anyone voting early runs the high risk of having their votes thrown out.

The school folks have done a lackluster job of explaining and selling this. It comes across as a corporate merger, making things bigger but not better. Someone will be losing out on local input into schools, though it appears Brattleboro has the advantage here.

Hard to believe they are asking us to vote on this again with so little outreach and info. It feels like going through the motions, not deciding. What if we all vote it down? What's the second half of the ballot for, then?

C'mon, schools. You should know how to write an essay and share it, but you've left us out of the loop. Meeting warnings aren't enough, and not everyone can attend. Explain why this needs to happen, or risk us all voting that we like things as they are. Or worse, get the result you want (the unification) without real buy-in or support and poor turnout numbers.

At the very least, work on getting people to the polls for this.

I plan to vote NO unless I hear better reasoning. And I expect my write in votes to be disregarded as well.


Another observation

What does it tell us that there are almost no registered candidates for this newly proposed board?

Assuming it was a great thing to do, wouldn't we see lots of people wanting to be on this new board?


I saw a nice "Vote No" sign north of town, but that's about the only "promotion" I've seen so far.


iBrattleboro Poll

60 degree temperatures in Brattleboro in February are