I have not had
the opportunity to study the recommendations proposed for election changes, but
I am not happy with the system that we currently have. So, I am ready to look at
anything that might improve the integrity of the checklist.
When I started
as Town Clerk, there was nothing more sacred than the voter list. Today, in my
opinion, our checklists are nothing but disaster. So, I am looking forward to
reviewing and debating proposed changes including same day voter registration.
In my opinion, we have had same day voter registration for several years by
using the affidavit for people who registered with motor vehicle. The only
difference being that some of those people appeared to vote, found that they
were not on the checklist and we, as clerks, took the responsibility of trying
to determine why they were not on the checklist and to fix the issue we
allowed them to use the affidavit and/or referred them to a neighboring town
where they may have still been on the checklist but did not reside.
Another example - someone who had actually moved from our
municipality, and because of the delay in removing the name from the
checklist, we were required to allow them to vote. I realize that same day voter
registration may create some issues, but it may in fact correct some existing
issues. We need to have this debate openly with a goal of a better
system when we are done. It is not that I don't understand
the issues, it is that we at a point with the state wide checklist, with the
technology and with the times that we have to continually review where we are
and how do we make it better and is there a way to make it better?
Last week Deb
Beckett, Williston Town Clerk currently stationed in Iraq, in an email to us on
Muninet, expressed her amazement at what is going on in Iraq with the voting
process. I think that we, as election officials, can all appreciate what is
going on there. Let's hope that we find the neutral grounds on this issue and be
able to walk away with a better system than we have now.
This debate cannot
be done on the Muninet; the Muninet is only a tool to express our opinions. The
Town Clerks in this State need to find a date and time that we can meet in a
forum to debate this and many other issues. It is disturbing to me to read of
the horror stories that Town Clerks and Treasurers are going through in their
municipal offices. This is another issue that we, as an Association, need to
debate in a forum and see how we can solve this problem as an Association. It is
ironic that we continually tear down the heritage of this State by taking away
from the voter the opportunity to elect it's officials. Let's, as an
Association, find a time to sit and debate these and other issues and see
if we can't come to a consensus on these and other issues.