Elections; it seems that elections come earlier and earlier. this year we will have a primary on August 26. The primary is a party function, allowing the major parties - in Vermont that means Republican, Democrat, Progressive, and Liberty Union - to determine their candidates. Voters do not register for a particular party so the primary is open. When voting, you will be given four ballots, you will use one and discard the other three. No one will know which party ‘s primary you voted in.
Primaries are important. You can register for the primary any time before 5 pm on August 20 (your town clerk is required to be open that day). If you have moved you must register in your new town.
Although the primary is August 26, the ballots are at the town clerks’ offices now. You can call and request an early ballot or you can just go in and vote - you do not have to wait until Election Day. The reason ballots are prepared so early is that the Federal government requires they be mailed to overseas voters 45 days before any election.
The general election is November 4 and even if you didn’t vote in the primary you can still register until 5 pm on October 29 to vote in the general election.
Who can register to vote? Any one who resides in Vermont. If this is your primary residence you can vote; if you are homeless, your address is wherever you lay your head at night; if you are a convicted felon you are still a citizen and you can vote; if you are a college student you can vote; if you are away for an extended time but maintain your residence and plan to return, you can vote. In Vermont we believe that this is an important right that should be given to all residents.
Voting is both a right and a responsibility. Many people have fought very hard for the right to vote - don’t take it for granted. While it might seem that just one vote doesn’t matter, it does. Don’t let decisions be made by others - make sure your voice is among them.
Vote on (or before) August 26, and on (or before) November 4.
Sen. Jeanette White