BRATTLEBORO EARLY/ABSENTEE BALLOTS
Early/absentee ballots for the Presidential Primary and Brattleboro Annual Town Meeting to be held March 3, are now available in the Brattleboro Municipal Center, first floor. Anyone wishing to vote prior to March 3 may apply for an early/absentee ballot until 5:00 p.m. on Monday, March 2.
Early/absentee ballots may be voted in person at the Municipal Center, mailed to the voter by the Clerk’s office, picked up by the voter, or if a voter is in need can be 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, under “Elections”.
Vermont has same day voter registration. However to save time on Election Day it is advisable to get all registration forms in to the Town Clerk’s office in advance, or register to vote by 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. In addition to regular hours, the office will open Saturday, February 29, from 9AM to noon for early voting and will be closed Tuesday, March 3, election day.
Brattleboro voting on March 3, will be held at the American Legion at 32 Linden Street. Polling hours are 7:00 AM to 7:00 PM.
Brattleboro Town Clerk
230 Main Street, Suite 108
Brattleboro. VT 05301
Full-time Brattleboro residents can Register to vote online:
Please be advised that your email communication to the Town may be considered public record and may be subject to disclosure under the Vermont Open Public Records Act.
Except, your write-in votes probably won't count again
I’ll add my annual warning that there is no guarantee your vote will be counted if you write someone in ahead of election day. You have to look at the list of “official” write-ins that is only available at the polls on election day to see if the person you choose to write in (which should be anyone) has registered in Brattleboro.
Brattleboro continues to limit write-ins, which continues to seem very un-democratic.
Making write-ins register means they aren’t really write-ins – they are official candidates that just skip the petition process, interviews, forums, and so on. No one should be allowed to “register” as a write-in.
Write-ins are for voters, and the Town Clerk should count them all as they are counted everywhere else. It is not an undue burden to count and record write-ins. Before Brattleboro outlawed this, the write-in candidate list would be available within a day or two. It wasn’t hard to do, and was much more fair. We got a true sense of the will of the voters and saw every name that got a vote.
Voters should be able to vote for whomever they want. Period.
It astounds me that this practice exists in Brattleboro.
Thanks, Chris, for bringing this up again. When this procedure started, I recall that one of the defending arguments for it was that unregistered write-in candidate might win and then refuse to accept the position. HUH? C’mon. How likely is it that an UNwilling write-in candidate would receive enough votes to win? Even if that happened, consider it a small price to pay for democracy. Not all that long ago, a registered, willing candidate was (re)elected and quit shortly thereafter – what’s the difference? Both situations are annoying, but simply inconvenient.
There is no online voting, either
“Full-time Brattleboro residents can Register to vote online:”
“Vermont residents can register online to vote:”
Write In Votes
The applicable section of the Brattleboro Charter (Article II; Section 3) reads:
E. [ . . . ] A candidate who intends to be a write-in
candidate for a town office or representative town meeting
member shall notify the town clerk prior to the close of the
polls on election day. Only votes for declared candidates
shall be counted.
Candidates not on the ballot merely need to notify the Town Clerk prior to the closing of the polls to have their votes counted.
Good advice to write in candidates is to “campaign” by letting the voters know they are running and how to spell their names.
This is so un-Democratic, and I'm surprised Brattleboro voters put up with it
Voters should be able to vote for whomever they want. It is not up to candidates or Town Clerks who can be voted for.
Let’s re-write that section E: “A voter who intends to write in a candidate for town office or representative town meeting member shall be not have their vote counted unless they physically go to polls, look at a list, and choose from it. Any other votes will be ignored and thrown away.”
If a write-in candidate is “running” and campaigning to let voters know they are running and how to spell their names, why is this not considered an “non-petition candidate?” Why not require them to pick up petitions, get signatures, reply to interview questions, attend forums, and so on?
Put another way, why should anyone bother to pick up a petition, get signatures, and otherwise participate in election season if it really isn’t required to become an “official candidate?” Why not skip all the drama and just have a list of acceptable vote choices handed out at the polls? Seems unfair to candidates doing it properly to allow others to skirt the process.
This rule was a new one, introduced recently. It needs to be repealed. Unfortunately, to do so would require someone to get a petition, gather signatures, and campaign… we can’t just walk in on the last day with an article and have it considered a “write-in article”, can we? : )
Furthermore, write-ins exist for the voter, not the convenience of lazy candidates or Town Clerks who don’t feel up to recording the actual votes in their community. The write-in allows the voter free choice to choose whom they feel is best, and this is especially useful if the official declared candidates aren’t worthy of a vote.
Write-ins allow protest votes, and for everyone to see how effective that protest was. And, as we know from past experience when these write ins were counted, seeing the list of write-ins often encourages someone to consider running in the future.
The so-called problems of electing someone who didn’t want to be elected , or not knowing the spelling of a candidate’s name, are red herrings. This rarely happens, if if it did, the person is not required to serve. It’s not a real problem.
The real problem is disenfranchising voters. Voters should be able to vote for whomever, and let the chips fall where they may.
(One of the perks of being gentrified out of Brattleboro is that we can write in whomever we want when we go to the polls again. )