ELECTION REPORT 2006
Year 2005 provided a much-needed break for your election officials, following as it did one of our busiest years ever. The time was spent organizing, training and preparing for the big change-over to a centralized voter checklist, mandated by the Federal Government. We have worked closely with the NH Secretary of State’s office to make this transition a smooth one. From a
voter’s standpoint, very little will change. New voters will still
fill out paper forms to register to vote. Checklist Supervisors, however, will need to train on the new system and get used
to a new format for data entry and printing. The system is designed so that local control will be maintained, while making it much easier to detect voters who have moved and re-registered in other towns.
This year’s Town Elections will be Tuesday, March 14th. The Polls will be open 8am – 7pm As of this writing, Bennington has 959 registered voters: 229 Democrats, 399 Republicans, and 331 Undeclared voters, only a miniscule change from last year. With one Town Election and two State / Federal Elections slated for this year, we can expect the voter checklist will grow again.
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.
Copies of the Bennington Checklist are available on request for $10 for paper copies and $5 via email, floppy disc or CD. Prior years' registration cards and checklists are open to inspection during normal Town Hall business hours. However, new privacy standards enacted with HAVA (the Federal “Help America Vote Act”“) require that registration forms starting from 2004 will be kept confidential. There will always be printed copies of the most recent checklist available, however.
REGISTERING TO VOTE
Voting is a fundamental right, as it is one of the rights from which all other freedoms flow. Nearly every citizen of the United States is entitled to register and vote somewhere. In most cases, people register where their primary residence is. However, citizens who are in transition, homeless, living oversees, in college, etc. must have equal access to the fundamental right of voting. In order to register to vote you must fill out a voter registration form and must have proof of your citizenship, age, and domicile. Bring your drivers’ license, and make sure that it has your current street address on it. Or bring another picture I.D. and some proof of domicile. Proof of domicile can be any reasonable documentation indicating that you live in Bennington, like an electric bill or rental agreement. If you are not sure where your primary residence is, use the “pillow test”: Where do you lay your head down to sleep most nights? Exceptions to this are college students, who may vote in either the college town where they live now, or their home town, if they intend to return there after school; and senior citizens, who may continue to vote in their home town even if they move to a retirement home in another town.
If you do not have documentation regarding domicile you may sign an affidavit declaring your domicile. The affidavit may be sworn before a justice of the peace, notary public, or the Town Moderator on election day.
Voters can get on the checklist in four ways:
1)Same Day Registration. Register at the polls on the day of the election.
1)Register with the Supervisors of the Checklist at one of their scheduled sessions. Sessions are usually 10 days prior to the election and will be posted in the Monadnock Ledger and on the Town Hall bulletin board.
1)Register with the Town Clerk during regular Town Hall hours.
1)If you are out of town, you can get an absentee voter registration form from the Town Clerk, as well as an absentee ballot. Call 603-588-2189
If you are on the checklist as a Democrat or Republican and you wish to be an Undeclared voter, please see the Supervisors or the Town Clerk prior to June 6, 2006 to fill out a change form. After June 6, you will not be able to change your party affiliation until after the Primary. So do it now, before you forget!
If you will not be in town for any election, please try to vote absentee. You can even vote absentee if you are not sure if your work and commuting schedule will allow you to get to the polls in time. If you’re not sure, it’s always better to vote absentee. Your vote counts! If you plan to vote absentee, please plan ahead. The Town Clerk has all the forms you will need, and she can tell you how to file absentee, and what the deadlines are for each election. Separate forms must be gotten for each election. (The exception to this is military personnel, who can fill out the Federal Post Card Application. This ensures that all ballots will be sent to them, as long as they are stationed in one place. The online version of this form is at http://www.fvap.gov/pubs/onlinefpca.html )
Call the Town Hall at 603-588-2189 for more information on absentee voting.
Thanks everyone for helping our democracy work!
SUPERVISORS OF THE CHECKLIST