Editor’s note: This commentary is by Vermont Secretary of State Jim Condos.
Voting is the bedrock of our democracy. One-person, one-vote is an ideal that lies at the corner of our collective democratic values.
On Town Meeting Day, the first Tuesday in March, citizens across Vermont come together in their communities to discuss the business of their towns. For over 200 years, Town Meeting Day has been an important political event as Vermonters elect local officers, vote on municipal and school budgets, and decide a host of other potential local issues, like bond votes or school district consolidations.
Voting on these items means a lot more than filling in an oval on a ballot. It’s an opportunity to shape your local government and provide input regarding your needs as a community member.
Towns can vote in two different ways at March Town Meeting — by floor meeting or by Australian ballot. Most towns use a combination of both voting methods. You can find out more information about your town’s voting methods and polling locations by visiting the Secretary of State’s website.
In most towns and cities, Town Meeting Day will take place on Tuesday, March 6th this year. If votes in your town are being taken by Australian ballot the polls will be open between 7a.m. and 7p.m. As the state’s Chief Elections Official, I strongly encourage all eligible Vermonters to exercise their civic duty and vote on, or before, Election Day.
We can be proud of Vermont’s voter participation rates in general elections, which is higher than the national average, but it’s just as important to turn out to vote in these local elections as it is to vote for President every four years. Local elections determine so much that impacts the quality of life in our communities, so make sure to vote early, attend your Town meeting, or cast your ballot at the polls on March 6th.
Don’t forget that you need to be registered to vote before you cast your ballot. You can register in person at your Town Clerk’s office any day up to, and including, the election. You can also register online through the Secretary of State’s website, and can even request an early ballot to be mailed to your house. If you want to vote early in person you can do so at your local Town Clerk’s office.
Thank you for doing your part by voting in your local Town Meeting Day election. See you at the polls.