Absentee ballot voting way up, in-person way down

Total turnout exceeded 2018 primary by 11 am, Berlin voting officials say

by Guy Page

August 11, 2020 – By late morning, voter turnout in the Town of Berlin had already surpassed the 2018 primary election.

A whopping 591 absentee ballots (of a total of 790 requested) had been returned, with more expected, Town Clerk Rosemary Morse said. Only 38 people had voted in person. “It’s working great,” Morse said. “No complaints.” The total town turnout for the August, 2018 primary was 522 voters, according to state election records.

Unlike the primary with request-only absentee ballots, the general election will feature ballots mailed to everyone, with directions about where to sign and how to return the ballots.

Today, the Berlin poll workers also practiced pandemic-related hygiene and social distancing. Everyone wore masks. They sat six feet apart from each other. Justice of the Peace Margaret “Peg” Monley stood at the front door, ready to squirt hand sanitizer on every newcomer’s hands and offer a free pen to mark the ballot – and then take home.

The primary election hasn’t been without its problems, Morse said. Upon hearing that former WVNY-22 news anchor Gary Wheelock had received an absentee ballot request form at his new home in Tennessee, Morse nodded her head in recognition. She said she spent most of May updating the voter checklist for the primary election – only to discover that the Secretary of State’s Office would accept no changes made later than April 22. Fortunately, her hard work will be accepted for the November general election.

PHOTO: Berlin Justice of the Peace provides hand sanitizer to everyone entering the Town Office to vote in today’s primary.

VTWATERCOOLER COMMENT OF THE DAY (post yours at www.vtwatercooler.com): “Amazing…I would be willing to bet that the same people who are “concerned” about O’Dell’s protest are all for the “peaceful protests” happening in Portland, Seattle, and elsewhere.”

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  1. It’s hard to reconcile the facts that Vermont’s voter registrations have increased by more than 60,000 individuals over the last ten years while its overall population has remained flat.

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