The big news of 2008 has been the Presidential Primary. The Secretary of State moved the date to back January to preserve New Hampshire's “first in the nation” status. This left election officials up in the air for a while, without a schedule. When the schedule was finally released, there was not much time to get ready. Much of our pre-election work took place throughout the holiday season. The additional demands of the State-mandated checklist have made this election season our busiest yet, and there is no end in sight.
Yet we are pleased to report that the Primary, though busy, went quite smoothly. There were no long lines, either for voting, or for registration, and we are pleased to report that 93 new voters registered on election day! 597 voted January 8th, giving Bennington a voter turnout of 58%, possibly a record. (In fact, the percentage is actually a bit higher, around 60%, if you take into account voters who moved out of town and registered Same Day in other towns) Nearly equal numbers of voters chose Republican or Democratic ballots.
This year’s Town Elections will be Tuesday, March 11th. The Polls will be open 8am – 7pm
As of this writing, Bennington has 1003 registered voters: 266 Democrats, 339 Republicans, and 398 Undeclared voters. The busy year continues with Town / School District Election in March, the State Primary in September (in which we chose candidates for the General Election), and the General Election in November (in which we chose President, Governor, US Senator & Congresspeople, State Senate, and State Representative).
We still count votes by hand in Bennington, and we welcome volunteers to help. Vote counting is an interesting and rewarding way to get involved with your community. Every vote will be counted, and every vote counts! Paper ballots are still the best guarantee of free open elections, as they ensure a voter-verified paper trail. All are welcome to lend a hand on Election Day evening. Volunteer with the Town Moderator or Town Clerk if you would like to help either during the day or in the evening.
The Supervisors are pleased to have put together some web-pages to keep the public informed on the election schedule, how to register to vote, who qualifies to vote, how to obtain a checklist, and other relevant election information. Please visit them at http://benningtonelections.homestead.com/
Also, an important note about party changes. Undeclared voters who chose a party's ballot in the Presidential Primary will be registered for that party unless they change back to Undeclared. The last day to do this is Tuesday, June 3. You can fill out a form during Town Clerk's hours, or with the Supervisors of the Checklist.