As a clerk in a large town for several years who has been through many
elections I'd like to give some thoughts about some of the election
While I understand concerns over the proposals, and agree wholeheartedly
with your philosophies of teaching democracy and civic duty in schools, a
lot of what we would like to see will only happen in a perfect world. In a
perfect world everyone would register as soon as they were old enough, never
forget to tell us when they move, and never miss voting in any election. We
know that will never happen!
RE: same day voter registration
The reality is (and we all see it every day) that people often really don't
think ahead about voting and all of a sudden here it is, election day and
they aren't registered! We forget that while we've been living and
breathing elections for many months leading up to the "Big Day", others
(besides our families that have had to listen to us gripe and the
candidates) most others haven't.
With technology making life seem like just one click away, I am afraid that
if we don't keep up the pace and modernize the way we do things, we'll lose
future generations except for a few serious die-hards. I do think that we
can make life simpler for voters and still protect the integrity of
elections but we all need to work together.
Brattleboro is a border state with New Hampshire who already has same day
voter registration. Local people here listen to NH radio stations, read NH
newspapers and watch NH TV. All of which promote same day registration.
Many that I turned away on 11/2 were under the impression that they could
register on election day.
To be honest, if I wasn't familiar with the system, didn't lead a stable
life and I had to struggle every day just to get by, would I remember to
notify the town clerk when I moved to the next town over? Lives are much
more transient than they were 50 years ago.
I do agree that same day registration will mean lots of work but it will be
positive work rather than the negative work we are currently doing with DMV
registrants......and if I were to total up all the staff hours we have
invested in maintaining our checklist according to DMV reports over the
course of a year that have proven to be inaccurate, I'd take same day reg.
This would be a huge change for us but I believe that with a plan in place,
a statewide checklist and carefully thought out legislation, we can make it
work so everyone comes out a winner and citizens feel like they are being
If we had gone to same day voter registration a few years ago we would never
have had to deal with "motor voter".
RE: Self-Administering Oath
I am also on the "other side" about this topic. I personally like the oath
and don't care to see it abolished but I am strongly in favor of having it
I have received too many voter registration applications that have needed
to be sent back because no one had administered the oath. It is an
especially cumbersome process for overseas and military voters considering
the slowness of the postal system in foreign countries.
Voters might actually read it and digest it more thoroughly than they
currently do having it read aloud to them.....and no more "Needs Oath"
voters to deal with on election day. We currently have approx. 150-200 or
so on our list.
I hope this isn't too lengthy and I hope I haven't come across as too
preachy. I only mean to share my thoughts for what I believe can be a
better way of doing business.
Annette L. Cappy, Town Clerk
230 Main St., Suite 108
Brattleboro, VT 05301-2885
phone 802-254-4541 x 129
email [log in to unmask]