The 2008 Election season started early with the Presidential Primary. The Secretary of State moved the date to 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 2007 holiday season.
The additional demands of the State-mandated checklist made this election season our busiest yet. 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%. (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.
The next two elections, Town Election and the State Primary, were relatively uneventful. Then the November 4th General Election was another record-breaker. Altogether, there were 792 ballots cast, with 98 new voters registered, 11 Democrat, 15 Republican, and 72 Undeclared for a total 72% turnout. (Note 2/3/09: with voters moved or deceased, our total is now 1066 registered in Bennington, making the actual turnout on Nov. 4th over 74%!)
As of this writing, Bennington has 1102 registered voters:
270 Democrats, 343 Republicans, and 489 Undeclared voters. With only one Town / School District Election in the year coming, we expect this number to remain steady until the 2010 Election cycle begins.
This year’s Town Elections will be Tuesday, March 10th. The Polls will be open 8am – 7pm
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.
Unfortunately, the price of the checklist has increased to $25 per copy, regardless of format. This change was made by the legislature. The Supervisors had hoped to keep the price of the checklist reasonable, and to encourage through our pricing structure the use of electronic data. Now because of this mandate, our hands are tied. We do not believe that $25 for a data base of about 1100 names acurately reflects the actual cost of the information. It means that in smaller towns it will be more costly for citizens to run for office. We hope that the legislature will revisit this question soon.
We are happy to report that our Elections webpages are fully operational now. In them you can find information about registering to vote, the Election schedule, previous years' election reports, links to State and Federal Elections' sites, and more. Please visit them at: