State Rep. Michael Hebert, R-Vernon, registers William Bauer during a voter registration drive Saturday at the Tri-Park Housing Office in West Brattleboro.
State Rep. Michael Hebert, R-Vernon, registers William Bauer during a voter registration drive Saturday at the Tri-Park Housing Office in West Brattleboro. (Howard Weiss-Tisman/Reformer)
Monday October 15, 2012

WEST BRATTLEBORO - Tom May remembers growing up during hard times, right after the Depression, in Pennsylvania coal country.

His grandmother, who helped raise him, had to work hard to keep food on the table, he said, and she had her hands full just making ends meet.

He remembers every election day how she would dress up in her best clothes and take the family out to the polls.

Now May, 75, says he wants to do what he can to make sure everyone who is eligible to vote has the opportunity.

"The 19th Amendment was the most important thing that ever happened to her," May said Saturday during a voter registration drive at the Tri Park Housing office in West Brattleboro. "You have to remind people how important this is."

Every four years May sets up a table in the West Brattleboro housing development to answer questions about voting and to register people who might have let their registration expire or who might never have registered before.

He was joined by Windham County legislators including Sen. Jeanette White, D-Putney, and Reps. Valerie Stuart, D-Brattleboro, and Michael Hebert, R-Vernon.

Along with getting people registered, Stuart said the lawmakers were spending time dispelling myths about the registration process. Stuart said some people think that if you are convicted of a felony then you can not vote, which is not true in Vermont, or that if you register you are more likely to be picked for jury duty, which also is not true.

"When you go door-to-door you find out that some people have questions about this," Stuart said. "We're sitting out here to make it easy and to make sure people know they have this right."

At the registration Saturday Mary Giorlando stopped by to make sure her registration was up-to-date.

Giorlando, who lost her home at Glen Park from Tropical Storm Irene and now lives on Valley Road, wanted to see if her registration needed to be updated. She found out that as long as she still lived in Brattleboro her information was accurate.

And William Bauer stopped by to register.

"I have not voted in a while and I think it's time," he said after Hebert read him the voter's oath and then signed him up.

People can register to vote in the upcoming Nov. 6 election until Oct. 31.

Anyone with questions about registering should call their town clerk.

Howard Weiss-Tisman can be reached at hwtisman@reformer.com or at 802-254-2311 ext. 279.