BRATTLEBORO >> The 2016 General Election polling place will be moving to a different location.
Voting on Election Day, Nov. 8, will take place at VFW Carl Dessaint Post 1034 on Black Mountain Road. The Brattleboro Board of Civil Authority, which has jurisdiction over polling places reluctantly made this decision earlier this year.
"We considered a number of factors including accessibility, traffic congestion, cost, and parking before selecting the VFW for our polling place, stated Elliott Greenblott, Chairman of the Board of Civil Authority.
Previously, the presidential election voting was held at Brattleboro Union High School but a combination of factors including the rental fee charged by the school, limited parking, traffic congestion, and the fact that school is in session combined to make the location less attractive.
"BUHS is a fine site in itself," said Greenblott, "but it has been challenging in recent elections. The heavy volume of traffic, limited parking, school activity, and cost are big concerns. Many have asked me why we have to pay to use our high school. The reality is that BUHS is a separate political unit owned by the member towns of the high school district, not Brattleboro alone."
Greenblott added that voting at the Brattleboro Municipal Building would not be possible on Nov. 8. "We experience heavy voter turnout at the polls when there is a presidential election. This year, that is magnified by the fact that we have an open Gubernatorial race. Even on low turnout days like Town Meeting Day voters who drive to the polls find severely limited parking. Handicapped and limited mobility voters have some real challenges making their way to the second floor."
The VFW provides ample parking, single-level access, and a large open space to conduct voting.
"This location will provide voters with the best possible experience at the polls," said Annette Cappy, Brattleboro Town Clerk.
The town bus service is going to be free for those needing it. Local organizations and businesses are being contacted to provide transportation at no cost to voters.
"We realize that there will be inconvenience to some voters, particularly those who walk to the polls," said Cappy. "Our strongest recommendation is to take the opportunity provided by early voting. All voters can request to have ballots mailed to them. In addition, anyone can come to the Municipal Building and vote in advance of Election Day. We really encourage voters to take advantage of this opportunity. While we know many feel that voting on Election Day is something sacred, time can be a limiting concern when voting takes place on a work day. You can avoid frustration and perform your civic responsibility by voting early"
Both Cappy and Greenblott noted that the change in polling place is considered a one-time action to allow for the needs of the General Election this year. Future voting will likely return to the Brattleboro Municipal Building on Main Street.
Voters with questions about the polling place or absentee voting should contact the Brattleboro Town Clerk's Office at 802-251- 8157 or email@example.com.