Usually, odd numbered years are quiet for election officials, but 2011 had several extra duties which kept us on our toes.
During the Spring and Summer, the Supervisors completed the 10 year "purge" of the checklist. State Law mandates that we do this once every 10 years to keep the checklist up-to-date. The Supervisors cannot take someone off the checklist unless we know for certain that they have died or re-registered somewhere else. With the computerized statewide checklist it is easy to track voters who move within the state. But when voters move farther, sometimes the information does not reach us. The purge allows us to remove some voters who have not voted in a very long time. First we send out a letter to make sure they are not still living in Bennington. If we get no response from them, then we can remove them. So if you notice that we have fewer voters in Bennington this year than last, it is because the 10-year purge has just been performed.
Report ~ 2012
This Winter, the quadrennial scramble for the First-in-the-Nation Primary began. This always results in some uncertainty for us, as all of our pre-primary session and posting dates depend on when the Secretary of State finally sets the date for the Primary. The Primary was even earlier this year than 4 years ago, which resulted in a busy December for us.
The January 10th Presidential Primary brought us 40 new voters who registered at the polls using the Same Day registration process. As of this writing, Bennington has 917 registered voters:
208 Democrats, 309 Republicans, and 400 Undeclared voters.
Looking ahead, 2012 promises to be a busy year, with three elections still to come:
This year’s Town Elections will be Tuesday, March 13th. The Polls will be open 8am – 7pm. Remember, we have Same-Day registration in New Hampshire. Bring a picture I.D. with proof of residence to register to vote at the polls.
September brings us the State Primary, in which the parties choose their candidates for the State House and Senate, Executive Council, Governor, and U.S. Congress (there will not be a U.S. Senate race this year)
Then is November comes the biggie: the General Election, in which the voters choose their members of the State House and Senate, Executive Council, Governor, U.S. Congress, and President of the United States.
Don't forget that the September election is a party election. It is actually two elections, in which the two major parties choose the candidates that they want to run in November. Remember to plan ahead for which party election you will participate in. If you registered as an “Undeclared” voter when you come to vote in September, you can choose the ballot of either party. But if you are registered as a Democrat or a Republican, you must take the ballot of that party. The last day to change your party affiliation, or to register as “Undeclared” so that you can choose later is Tuesday, June 5. The Supervisors will hold a session from 7 to 7:30 that day. (You may also visit the Town Clerk during open hours to change party affiliation prior to that date.)
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.
Don't forget to visit the Bennington Elections web-pages if you have questions about voting, elections, etc. In them you can find information about registering to vote, the Election schedule, absentee voting, previous years' election reports, links to State and Federal Elections' sites, and more. Please visit them at: