American Legion to host Brattleboro voting
"We tend to move the November elections," Town Clerk Hilary Francis said, "because turnout is going to be too big for the Municipal Center."
The Brattleboro Board of Civil Authority voted on the location change. Last year, the Veterans of Foreign Wars Carl M. Dessaint Post 1034 hosted the election.
On Election Day, polls will be open at the American Legion from 7 a.m. until 7 p.m. Free parking will be available in the legion parking lot and the Municipal Center. The Current will offer free rides and operate on its regular schedule.
Francis said a number of locations were considered including Brattleboro Union High School and the VFW, where voting had been done in previous years, and a room at the renovated Central Fire Station and Brooks Memorial Library. But the legion was chosen for its accessibility and space for parking.
Francis said if voters come to the Municipal Center, where they are used to going for elections, they would not need to go across town to get the polling stations. Getting there also would be easier for people walking or biking, she said.
"People on the outskirts of town have access to a vehicle or a way to get into town anyway," she added.
At the high school, parking can be an issue. Classes are in session on Election Day, Francis said.
The BCA decided the legion "made the most sense," she said. "And our hope is to find a location for November elections to be consistent."
The location has been shared via social media and traditional media outlets. Signs will be posted at the high school, VFW and Municipal Center. And voters who showed up at the Municipal Center for the primary election in August were given notices to let them know of the location change.
Francis said 10 parking spaces will be reserved for legion patrons, leaving the remainder of the legion's parking lot available for voters. At the Municipal Center, metered parking spots and spaces usually reserved for town staff will be free for those voting.
"We're asking our staff to park elsewhere," said Francis.
Early voting began Sept. 21. Turnout has been good, said Francis, who expects it to pick up in the next few weeks.
So far, she said, between 650 and 700 voters have requested ballots. Large participation in the primary election has her bracing for a similar showing at the midterm election.
Early voting can be done until Nov. 5 at 5 p.m. The town clerk's office will be open 9 a.m. to noon on Saturday, Nov. 3.
Registered voters can request absentee ballots by calling 802-251-8157. To register to vote, visit the Vermont Secretary of State's website at sec.state.vt.us/elections/voters/registration.aspx.
"Assistive technology voting equipment is available at the town clerk's office and at the polls for voters with disabilities," BCA Chairman Elliott Greenblott wrote in a letter to the editor.
Reach staff writer Chris Mays at firstname.lastname@example.org, at @CMaysBR on Twitter and 802-254-2311, ext. 273.
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