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Forum, July 13: Consider early or absentee voting

Published: 7/12/2020 10:00:10 PM
Modified: 7/12/2020 10:00:08 PM
Consider early or absentee voting

Vermont’s primary is scheduled for Aug. 11, when voters will select candidates for state and county offices.

The coronavirus threat will make this election challenging for voters and election officials alike. To protect against health concerns, minimize crowding and to keep voters and officials safe, we encourage voters to request absentee ballots from their town clerks and to return ballots by mail.

It will be problematic to maintain the required physical distancing at many election sites. In Hartland, we estimate we can accommodate only eight voters at voting booths at any one time. Voters waiting in line cannot be closer than six feet to one another. We are also limited in the number of election officials we can ask to work at the polls.

Absentee ballots are available right now by request from your town clerk. Eligible voters may call their town office, send in the postcard request or, at the secretary of state’s website (sos.Vermont.gov), click “registration” and then “My Voter Page.” At this time voters may also vote absentee in any town office during open hours.

Voters should not be concerned about the safety or the legitimacy of mailed-in ballots. The process is straightforward. Names of those requesting ballots are recorded in the town office and noted on the voter checklist. The voter follows the directions, puts the completed ballot into the provided envelope, signs an affidavit on the outside of that envelope, seals the envelope, and puts it into a second (provided) outside envelope for return.

Town clerks verify each envelope returned as coming from that voter, whose name is checked off on the checklist. Then the signed inner envelope is opened and the ballot is deposited, without any examination, into either the tabulator or the ballot box. At the end of the day, the number of ballots cast must equal the number of names checked off on the checklist.

Please vote, and please consider early or absentee voting.



The writers serve as Hartland town clerk and as chair of the Hartland Board of Civil Authority, respectively.

Volinsky will fix NH school funding

Newport has an education funding crisis, like many other towns and cities across new Hampshire. This crisis has plagued our state for decades, fueled by the regressive property tax system that we rely on to fund education.

Property taxes have crippled many property-poor communities like my hometown. Families in these communities on average make nearly 20% less than the median income in New Hampshire, yet they pay some of the highest property tax rates in the state. Residents are forced to spend upward of 10% or more of their incomes on local property taxes. In effect, young families can not afford to live in Newport and our senior citizens are forced to leave.

Unfortunately, it is our children who bare the brunt of the consequences of our unfair school funding system. With our town’s high property taxes, we raise $15,900 per pupil for education, a pittance compared to the $24,900 per pupil raised by our neighbor Sunapee, where the tax rate is half that of Newport’s. These discrepancies in education funding have clear and direct impacts on the quality of education available for our children.

I trust that as governor, Andru Volinsky will succeed in lowering property taxes for New Hampshire’s hard-working citizens and begin the process of more equitably funding our children’s education.

I will be voting for Andru Volinsky on Sept. 8, and I hope you will join me in casting your ballot for our children’s futures.



Sue Prentiss is remarkable

We are very happy to support the candidacy of Sue Prentiss for New Hampshire state senator from District 5. She is one of the most remarkable people in Lebanon and the Upper Valley as a whole and has an extensive background as an EMT and in the nursing profession in New Hampshire. During this COVID-19 crisis, which shows no signs of disappearing, her knowledge of public health is exactly what we will need in the Senate as we all brace for further waves of the disease throughout the state.

During her several years on the City Council and as mayor of Lebanon, she has done a remarkable job dealing in a sensitive way with the concerns and needs of our community’s complex population. When we first met her, she saw herself as a Republican, but she supported all of the things we, who have been registered Democrats for the past 40 or 50 years, have supported. She became a registered Democrat a few years ago and even became a state co-chair of the Pete Buttigieg campaign early last year. Having had many discussions with her over the past two years at political events and in personal conversations, we feel she is exactly the kind of Democrat we need in the New Hampshire Senate.



A few questions for the president

I am hoping President Donald Trump might be able to reflect upon a few questions I have for him.

How did he learn to be so disrespectful of other people and to use language that children know is called “potty mouth”?

Did his mother make any attempt to dissuade him from such attitudes toward those he sees as critical of him? Did Trump’s father enjoy a similar attitude, and was he the best role model?

Has he ever stopped to reflect on what a negative impact his language and attitude has?

Did he really want to be president, or did he just want to win? Does he still want to be president, or does he like being the person in charge who is under looking-glass scrutiny at all times?

Perhaps he could take a few minutes after a golf game to think about his future and the meaning of his life. A good counselor wouldn’t hurt, either.



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